Canada's Retail Services Price Index edges up 0.1% in Q1, its first quarterly advance since Q2 2012, led by general merchandise, food and beverage stores: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA , August 9, 2013 (press release) – The Retail Services Price Index (RSPI) edged up 0.1% in the first quarter, marking the first quarterly advance in the RSPI since the second quarter of 2012.

Chart 1 
Retail Services Price Index
Line chart – Chart 1: Retail Services Price Index, from first quarter 2008 to first quarter 2013

Following a decline in the fourth quarter of 2012, a margin increase by general merchandise stores (+2.3%) contributed to the advance of the RSPI. Food and beverage stores (+1.0%) also contributed to the increase of the RSPI. Among the other retail sectors recording gains were furniture and home furnishings stores (+0.7%) and clothing and clothing accessories stores (+0.4%).

The RSPI advance was moderated primarily by a continuing drop in margins of gasoline stores (-2.4%), which registered their lowest quarterly average since the second quarter of 2008. Retail margins for sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-1.1%), miscellaneous store retailers (-1.0%) and health and personal care stores (-0.9%) also declined in the first quarter. Margins for electronics and appliance stores (-0.6%) and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-0.4%) also moved downward.

The RSPI was up compared with the same quarter a year earlier. However, the advance (+0.6%) was the smallest year-over-year margin gain since the series began in 2008. Health and personal care stores (+3.5%) yielded the largest margin increase year over year. Other sectors that posted gains and contributed to the increase included general merchandise stores (+1.4%), furniture and home furnishings stores (+1.2%), food and beverage stores (+1.0%) and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+0.7%).

Retail margins for electronics and appliance stores (-3.4%) continued to move downward, moderating the year-over-year increase in the RSPI. This decrease was the smallest decline recorded by this sector since the first quarter of 2012.

Margins for clothing and clothing accessories stores (-0.8%) and miscellaneous store retailers (-0.8%) were also down. Gasoline stations (-0.6%) reported their third consecutive year-over-year margin decrease. Retail margins for sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-0.2%) continued to fall.

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