Ottawa – Wholesale sales rose 0.6% to $53.0 billion in June 2014, a third consecutive increase, reports Statistics Canada. Gains in five subsectors, which together represented 69% of wholesale sales, more than offset a decline in the motor vehicle and parts subsector. Excluding this subsector, wholesale sales rose 1.2%.
In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.7%.
Higher sales in five subsectors
The miscellaneous subsector, up $208 million or 3.1% to $6.9 billion, contributed the most in dollar terms to the gain in June. This was the sixth increase in seven months for the subsector. While all of the subsector’s industries recorded higher sales, the agricultural supplies industry (+4.9%) and the other miscellaneous industry (+5.1%) were the largest contributors to the gain. The other miscellaneous industry includes wholesalers of logs and wood chips, minerals, ores and precious metals, and second-hand goods (excluding machinery and automotive goods), as well as wholesalers not elsewhere classified.
Sales in the building material and supplies subsector, up 2.2% to $7.6 billion, rose for a sixth consecutive month to the highest level on record. The largest contributor to the increase was the lumber, millwork, hardware and other building supplies industry (+3.7%), which posted a seventh consecutive monthly gain.
For the fourth time in five months, sales increased in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector, rising 1.5% to $10.4 billion in June. Higher sales in the food industry (+1.4%) and the cigarette and tobacco product industry (+3.9%) were the largest contributors to the increase.
The farm product subsector rose 1.4% to $672 million, its sixth increase in seven months. Despite the gain, the subsector remained below its historical peak from April 2014.
Following the strong gain in May, sales in the motor vehicles and parts subsector declined 2.4% to $9.1 billion in June. All of the subsector’s industries contributed to the decline, led by the motor vehicle industry (-2.6%).
Sales up in seven provinces
Sales increased in seven provinces in June. Alberta contributed the most to the gain.
Sales in Alberta rose for a sixth consecutive month, up 2.0% to $7.1 billion. This was the highest level on record for the province. Gains were recorded in most subsectors.
In Ontario, sales edged up 0.3% to $25.6 billion in June, a third consecutive increase. Gains in several subsectors more than offset a decline in the motor vehicle and parts subsector.
Sales rose 13.1% to $438 million in Newfoundland and Labrador, more than offsetting the decline in May.
In Saskatchewan, sales rose 1.8% to $2.1 billion, a second consecutive increase. Higher sales in the farm product subsector contributed to the gain.
New Brunswick recorded a second consecutive sales increase, up 7.0% to $565 million. Led by the food, beverage and tobacco subsector, widespread gains across subsectors were recorded.
Manitoba and Prince Edward Island also recorded sales increases as a result of widespread gains across subsectors. Sales in Manitoba rose 2.3% to $1.5 billion, its highest level on record, while sales in Prince Edward Island rose 7.2% to $58 million following three consecutive monthly declines.
After three consecutive monthly gains, sales in British Columbia decreased 0.7% to $5.2 billion. Lower sales were recorded in several subsectors, led by motor vehicle and parts.
Inventories rise in June
Inventories rose 1.0% to $65.9 billion in June. Gains were recorded in six of seven subsectors, which together represented 83% of wholesale inventories.
The food, beverage and tobacco subsector rose 3.5% to the highest level on record in June.
Inventories rose for a sixth consecutive month in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+0.9%) and a fifth consecutive month in the miscellaneous subsector (+2.0%).
Following two consecutive declines, inventories in the motor vehicle and parts subsector rose 0.7%.
The lone subsector to decline in June was the personal and household goods subsector, which edged down 0.3% following three consecutive monthly gains.
The inventory-to-sales ratio remained at 1.24 in June. 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.