Ottawa - Wholesale sales rose by 0.3% in January 2013 to $49.0 billion. The increase was mainly a result of higher sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry, Statistics Canada reports.
In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.5% in January.
Increase led by the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry
In January, four of the seven subsectors, accounting for about two-thirds of wholesale sales, reported gains.
Sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector rose 3.2%, almost offsetting the decline observed in December. January's advance reflects an 8.0% increase in the sales of the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry, which posted its largest gain since April 2008. For the third consecutive month, this industry was the main contributor to sales movement at the national level. This coincided with the release of new products at the end of 2012.
The second-largest increase was in the personal and household goods subsector (+1.0%). The key contributors to January's advance were the toiletries, cosmetics and sundries industry and the textiles, clothing and footwear industry.
Sales were up 0.7% in the food, beverages and tobacco subsector, its first monthly increase in three months. All three component industries of this subsector reported gains.
These increases were partly offset by a 2.8% decline in the motor vehicle and parts subsector, its fifth decrease since July 2012. January's decline in sales reflected a 3.4% decrease in the motor vehicle industry.
Sales growth concentrated in Quebec
Sales were up in nine provinces in January.
Most of the sales growth in dollars was concentrated in Quebec, where sales rose 2.2%, the first advance in three months. Wholesalers in the province posted higher sales in the personal and household goods subsector and the food, beverage and tobacco subsector.
In Western Canada, Saskatchewan (+1.2%) recorded the largest increase, as a result of higher sales in the agricultural supplies industry, which accounts for about 35% of wholesale sales in the province.
The four Atlantic provinces posted gains, with Newfoundland and Labrador (+4.3%) registering the largest growth in sales.
Ontario was the lone province that posted a decrease in sales. Wholesale sales were down 0.5% in January, the fifth decrease since July 2012. The declines were largely a result of lower sales in the motor vehicle industry.
Increase in inventories
Wholesale inventories rose 1.2% in January to $61.5 billion. Inventories were up in 18 of the 25 industries.
The largest increases in dollar terms were in the inventories of the personal goods industry (+10.4%) and the construction, forestry, mining and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry (+1.5%).
The inventory-to-sales ratio rose to 1.25 in January.
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.