Canadian retail sales rose 3.5% year-over-year in Q4 2013, with sales rising in nine of 10 commodity groups; retail food and beverage sales increased 2%, with general merchandise stores seeing gain in food market share: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA , April 14, 2014 (press release) – Retail sales rose 3.5% from the same quarter a year earlier to $128.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. Sales were up in 9 of the 10 major commodity groups.

Over one-third of the total growth for the fourth quarter came from the sale of motor vehicles, parts and services (+7.3%). Higher sales of new trucks, vans, mini-vans, sport utility vehicles and buses (+15.2%) led the gains within the commodity group, more than compensating for the small decline in new car sales (-0.1%). Sales of used automotive vehicles rose 6.4% while sales of automotive parts and accessories increased 4.4%.

Retail sales of food and beverages rose 2.0%. Most of the gains came from food (+2.8%), with fresh fruit and vegetables (+7.5%) and fresh meat and poultry (+3.7%) leading the way. There was a shift in where food products were purchased, as general merchandise stores increased their market share by 0.7 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2012 to 18.4%.

Automotive fuels, oils and additives sales rose 3.6%, continuing the upward trend dating back to the fourth quarter of 2009.

Sales receipts of clothing, footwear and accessories rose 3.6% year over year. Increases in women's clothing and accessories (+5.3%) and men's clothing and accessories (+3.4%) were largely driven by gains in outerwear and accessories. Sales of footwear rose 6.1%, the largest increase in nearly two years, led by gains in non-athletic footwear.

Sales of health and personal care products rose 4.4%. Prescription drug sales (+6.9%) were mainly responsible for the gain.

Extreme weather conditions in the latter half of the fourth quarter heavily influenced sales of hardware, lawn and garden products (+1.8%). Sales of hardware and home renovation products edged up (+0.2%) while sales of outdoor power equipment and accessories contributed to the 13.2% gain in the sale of lawn and garden products.

Furniture, home furnishings and electronics was the only major commodity group not posting gains in the fourth quarter, down 0.4% from the same quarter last year. Sales of home electronics, computers and cameras fell 1.4%, continuing the downward trend that started at the beginning of 2012. However, offsetting these declines were higher sales of household appliances (+2.6%).

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