Retail Fast Facts

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Retail Fast FactsView the latest national monthly sales by category in RCC's Retail Fast Facts.

View Retail Fast Facts: January 2017

National Seasonally Adjusted total monthly retail sales (less Autos & Gas) for November 2016 increased 3.5 per cent over the comparable month last year, and increased .02 per cent versus the prior month.

Retail Council of Canada commentary:

The Regional Story 

  • Canadian retail sales rose by 0.2% in November. Year-over-year sales are up by 3.0% since November 2015. (p.3) 
  • Ontario sales were up 0.5% on a month-to-month basis, continuing Ontario’s rebound in the second half of the year after a tough start to 2016. (p.3)
  • Quebec saw a solid 0.3% growth over October’s numbers but has now fallen slightly behind Ontario’s rate of growth, which Quebec led for four consecutive months between May and September. (p.3 and p.12)
  • British Columbia retail sales saw a decline of -0.7% in November but that has to be placed in the context of B.C.’s standout year-over-year growth of 5.5% (p.3). 
  • Other strong growth stories were Nova Scotia (+2.0%) and Saskatchewan (+1.8%).
  • Alberta continued to struggle with a -0.5% decline over October’s numbers, reflecting the extremely difficult year that Alberta has faced with low oil prices and the Fort McMurray fires.

The Sectoral Story 

  • As with other RFF releases in 2016, the picture varies depending on whether sales of cars, gasoline and car parts are included in the total. Together, these make up about one-third of total retail sales. The volatile price of gasoline and the level of car sales has a major impact on the overall picture for retail.
  • Broader patterns in retail are considerably more positive.  On a year-over-year basis, sales excluding cars and gas grew 3.5% versus 2.1% growth in cars and gas (p.6)
  • The strong growth performance in November in building materials (+8.6%), furniture (+8.0%) suggest a market characterized by a lot of home renovation and improvement. (p.6)
  • Health and personal care stores (+6.0%) and especially shoe stores (+8.1%) have been strong annual stories but there were no particularly strong performers in fashion and beauty during November. (p6)
  • On cross-border shopping, same-day car trips by Canadians to the U.S. were down -4.7% or 80 thousand trips for November 2016 over November 2015, while inbound trips from U.S. visitors increased by
  • 4.0% or 23 thousand trips over the same period, reflecting the prevailing strength of the U.S. dollar (p.22).

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