Canadian Wholesale Sales Up in December - Modern Distribution Management

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Canadian Wholesale Sales Up in December

Motor vehicle and parts sales led the increase.

Canadian wholesale sales rose 2 percent to C$57.2 billion (US$42.3 billion) in December, according to Statistics Canada.

Gains were recorded in four of seven subsectors, accounting for 66 percent of wholesale sales, and were led by the motor vehicle and parts subsector. Excluding this subsector, wholesale sales edged up 0.1 percent. In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 1.8 percent in December.

The motor vehicle and parts subsector recorded the largest gain in dollar terms in December, rising 10.6 percent. The motor vehicle industry (+13.7 percent) accounted for most of the gain, recording its second consecutive monthly increase.

Sales in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector rose 1.3 percent in December, their second increase in three months. Higher sales in the food industry (+1.1 percent) and the cigarette and tobacco product industry (+6.1 percent) were the largest contributors to the increase.

The personal and household goods and building material and supplies subsectors both rose 1 percent. Sales in the miscellaneous subsector declined for the second time in six months, down 2.6 percent. Three of the five industries in the subsector recorded lower sales, led by the other miscellaneous industry (-7.5 percent).

In December, higher sales were recorded in eight provinces, together accounting for 97 percent of wholesale sales. In dollar terms, Ontario contributed the most to the gain.

Ontario and Quebec both recorded a second consecutive monthly increase in December, and sales for each province reached their highest levels on record. Sales rose 2.6 percent in Ontario on the strength of gains in the motor vehicle and parts subsector, while sales in Quebec increased 2.1 percent, led by higher sales in the personal and household goods subsector.

In Alberta, sales increased 1.4 percent – their highest level in four months – on the strength of gains in several subsectors. This was the province's second consecutive increase. Despite the gain, Alberta's sales in December were 9.4 percent lower than in December 2014.

Sales in Nova Scotia rose 6 percent on the strength of gains in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector.

Sales reached their lowest level in five months in both Manitoba, down 2.7 percent, and Newfoundland and Labrador, down 8.3 percent. The miscellaneous subsector contributed the most to the decline in both provinces.

Wholesale inventories edged down 0.1 percent to C$72.9 billion (US$53.9 billion) in December, a second consecutive decrease.

Three of seven subsectors reported declines, accounting for 56 percent of wholesale inventories. The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector posted the largest decrease.

Lower inventories in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (-1.2 percent), the motor vehicle and parts subsector (-0.6 percent), and the miscellaneous subsector (-0.1 percent) more than offset increases in the other four subsectors.

The personal and household goods subsector (+1.1 percent) recorded the largest gain in dollar terms, followed by the building material and supplies subsector (+0.6 percent).

The inventory-to-sales ratio declined from 1.30 in November to 1.27 in December. This was the lowest ratio since December 2014, when it was 1.23.

On an annual basis, wholesale sales totaled C$661 billion (US$488.4 billion) in 2015, up 4 percent from 2014. This was the sixth consecutive year of annual growth.

All of the seven wholesale trade subsectors covered by the Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey recorded higher annual sales in 2015. The motor vehicle and parts subsector recorded the largest increase in dollar terms.

In 2015, all provinces except Alberta recorded higher sales. However, all provinces, except Quebec, recorded slower growth in 2015 than in 2014. Ontario, which accounted for 50 percent of wholesale sales in 2015, was the largest contributor in dollar terms to the national gain.

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