Ottawa - Wholesale sales rose 0.7% in November 2012 to $49.6 billion. The increase was largely a result of higher sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry.
In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.5%.
In November, five of the seven subsectors, accounting for about two-thirds of wholesale sales, reported increases. The largest advance in dollar terms was in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, which grew by 1.8%. This result was primarily because of higher sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry, which rose 6.3%. This coincided with a sharp gain in imports of communications and audio and video equipment, which were 14.2% higher in November than in October, according to international merchandise trade data.
The motor vehicle and parts subsector recorded its second consecutive increase. Sales were up 1.5% as a result of an advance in the motor vehicle industry (+1.7%), which was responsible for about 90% of the subsector's growth.
Sales in the building material and supplies subsector increased by 0.7% in November, on the strength of higher sales in the lumber, millwork, hardware and other building supplies industry.
Declines were observed in the personal and household goods subsector (-0.6%) and the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (-0.4%).
Sales growth concentrated almost entirely in Ontario
In November most of the national increase came from Ontario, where wholesalers reported the largest gain since July 2011. Wholesale sales were up in three provinces in November: Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.
Ontario posted a 2.1% increase in sales, its first advance in three months. Wholesalers in the province benefited from higher sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry and the motor vehicle industry.
In Manitoba, sales grew 4.9% in November, after falling 1.5% in October. It was the province's third increase in four months.
Sales were up 0.8% in Alberta, its second straight gain. Several industries contributed to the November result, notably the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry.
Quebec (-1.4%) posted the largest decline in dollar terms in November.
Wholesalers' inventories fell 0.4% in November to $61.2 billion, the second decrease in three months. Inventories were down in 16 of the 25 industries.
The largest inventory declines in dollar terms were in the construction, forestry, mining and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry (-1.9%) and the motor vehicle industry (-2.4%).
The inventory-to-sales ratio fell from 1.25 in October to 1.24 in November.
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.