Ottawa – Wholesale sales decreased 2.8% to $48.8 billion in June 2013, offsetting the advances of the previous two months, reports Statistics Canada. The decline was widespread as sales were lower in all subsectors in June.
In volume terms, wholesale sales were down 2.9%.
Lower sales in all subsectors
The largest decline in dollar terms was in the miscellaneous subsector (-8.0%), because of a 22.6% decrease in the agricultural supplies industry. This was the industry’s first decrease after six consecutive months of advances.
The second largest decline was in the building material and supplies subsector (-3.0%). All three industries within this subsector reported lower sales. Sales in this subsector have been down in five of the past six months.
The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector was down 1.8%. In dollar terms, the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry led the decline (-4.0%), after increases the previous two months.
The food, beverage and tobacco products subsector declined 1.9%, primarily because of a 2.0% decrease in sales in the food industry.
The motor vehicle and parts subsector declined 2.2% in June, more than offsetting the increase in May.
Sales down in most provinces
Sales were down in seven provinces in June, with Ontario accounting for almost 70% of the total decline in sales.
Ontario posted a 4.0% sales decline, the first decrease in the province in four months. The decline in June was attributable to several subsectors, especially the motor vehicle and parts subsector.
Quebec’s decline (-2.6%) was led by lower sales in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector and the building material and supplies subsector.
Alberta’s sales declined by 1.5% in June, the first decrease in the province in three months.
New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island were the only provinces posting sales increases in June.
Inventory levels up in June
Inventories rose 0.8% to $62.4 billion in June, their fifth increase in six months. Overall, five of the seven subsectors registered higher inventories.
The largest increase in dollar terms was in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+1.7%).
The inventory-to-sales ratio went from 1.23 in May to 1.28 in June, its highest value since August 2009.
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.