Retail Fast Facts


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

View Retail Fast Facts: February 2018

Canadian retail sales growth slowed in December (+2.1%) from robust November growth levels (+6.9%), suggesting a seasonal shift to purchasing consumer goods in November.

Retail Council of Canada commentary:

The Regional Story

  • Montreal (+7.4% year-over-year to December 2017) saw a growth rate more than twice that of Toronto (+3.4%) and Vancouver (+3.6%) p.16
  • Saskatchewan (-4.5%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.6%) were the only two provinces that saw notable year-over-year declines in December sales, presumably attributable to continuing challenges in the resource sector in those provinces. p.16

The Sectoral Story

  • Automotive and gas station sales (+1.2% from November’s results) were growth areas in December. p.6
  • Stripping out results from automotive and gasoline sales, retail sales declined by -2.0% in December from November levels. p.6
  • Other than grocery (+1.6%), almost every other retail category saw a decline from November. p.6
  • One might hypothesize that seasonal sales for most retailers are increasingly being made in November, driven partly by ecommerce requiring earlier lead times for delivery and also by evolving customer behaviour. Grocery and gasoline are largely unaffected by this time-shifting phenomenon of course
  • Viewed on a year-over-year basis, December 2017 retail sales were +4.7% over December 2016 sales, with electronics and appliances (+16.9%) and building materials and garden equipment (+10.8%) categories leading the way. p.6
  • Retail e-commerce sales were up 4.1% in December 2017 over December 2016. p.13


  • Despite concerns expressed in media about retail industry consolidation and automation, the retail sector has added 68 thousand jobs over the year ending December 2017, 52 thousand of those jobs being full time.