Canada retail sales decline in February

25 April 2012 (Last Updated April 25th, 2012 02:00)

Canadian retail sales decreased unexpectedly in February for the first time since July 2011, due to a sharp fall in sales of new cars in seven months, according to the data released by Statistics Canada.

Canadian retail sales decreased unexpectedly in February for the first time since July 2011, due to a sharp fall in sales of new cars in seven months, according to the data released by Statistics Canada.

Retail sales were down 0.2% to C$38.9bn ($39.26bn) in February, following an increase of 0.5% in the previous month, while February sales dropped 0.6% in volume terms.

The agency said lower sales were reported in five of 11 subsectors, representing 57% of total retail sales.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers declined 2.4% in the month, partially offsetting the rise in January 2012.

The 'other motor vehicle dealers' industry recorded a 3.5% fall in sales, showing a decline for a fourth month in a row.

Sales increased 1.3% at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores, and grew 0.4% at used car dealers in February 2012.

Food and beverage stores sales fell 0.2%, registering a second consecutive monthly decline, while sales were down in all industries within this subsector.

Sporting goods, hobby, book and music store receipts edged down 1%, recording a fall for a third month in a row, and reflecting lower sales at sporting goods stores.

Following three consecutive monthly declines, sales at gasoline stations were up 1.7% in February 2012, reflecting higher prices at the pump.

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers increased 2.2%, partially offsetting January's decrease.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales were up 1.3% in February, a fifth consecutive month of growth, reflecting higher sales at clothing stores.

General merchandise store sales rose 0.5% in February, while sales in the 'other general merchandise stores' industry advanced 1.1%, increasing for a fifth time in six months.

Retail sales fell in six Canadian provinces in February 2012, with Ontario reporting the largest decline to 0.9%.

Sales in Alberta decreased 0.6% in February, while Quebec retailers registered a 0.7% rise in sales, a fifth increase in six months.

Retail sales in British Columbia were up 0.4%, recording a second consecutive month of increase.