Wholesale sales rose 1.9 percent to $55.2 billion in April, a second consecutive increase. Sales were up in four of seven subsectors, led by the motor vehicle and parts subsector. Excluding this subsector, wholesale sales increased 0.4 percent. In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 2 percent
The motor vehicle and parts subsector recorded the largest gain in dollar terms in April, rising 9.3 percent to $9.9 billion. A second consecutive increase in the motor vehicle industry (+12.3 percent) accounted for most of the gain. Higher imports of passenger cars and light trucks were recorded in both March and April.
Following three consecutive declines, the miscellaneous subsector rose 3 percent to $7.5 billion. Four of its five industries contributed to the increase, led by the other miscellaneous industry (+7.1 percent), which includes wholesalers of goods such as logs, wood chips, minerals, ores and precious metals. The gain in the other miscellaneous industry more than offset the decline in March.
Sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector increased 1.5 percent to $11.3 billion, more than offsetting the declines in February and March. The construction, forestry, mining, and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry (+4.8 percent) led the gain, its second increase in six months. Sales in this industry were 0.8 percent lower than in April 2014.
Following five consecutive monthly gains, the food, beverage and tobacco subsector recorded lower sales in April, decreasing 2 percent to $10.4 billion. All of the subsector's industries contributed to the decline, led by the food industry (-2.1 percent).
Wholesale sales rose in seven provinces in April, representing 89 percent of total wholesale sales. Ontario accounted for most of the gain.
Sales in Ontario rose 3.4 percent to $27.5 billion, a second consecutive increase. The motor vehicle and parts subsector was the largest contributor to the gain.
The motor vehicle and parts subsector also led the gains in Quebec, where sales rose 1 percent to $9.8 billion, and Nova Scotia, where sales increased 10.3 percent to $772 million. In both provinces, the gains in April more than offset the declines in March.
Manitoba recorded its fourth increase in five months as sales rose 2 percent to $1.5 billion. The miscellaneous subsector was the largest contributor to the gain. This subsector also contributed to higher sales in Saskatchewan, where sales rose 0.6 percent to $2.4 billion.
Following two consecutive monthly gains, sales decreased 1.9 percent to $5.2 billion in British Columbia. Declines were widespread, led by the building material and supplies subsector.
Inventories rose for a sixth consecutive month in April, up 0.5 percent to $71.8 billion, the highest level on record. Gains were recorded in five of seven subsectors, which together represented 83 percent of wholesale inventories.
The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+1.6 percent) recorded the largest increase in dollar terms, its fifth consecutive gain.
Following three consecutive declines, inventories increased 1.6 percent in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector.
In the building material and supplies subsector, inventories rose 0.5 percent, a 14th consecutive monthly increase.
The inventory-to-sales ratio decreased from 1.32 in March to 1.30 in April. The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.