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Trade News

Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


Canada: Furniture stores set new sales record for March

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 > 12:23:42

(Home Goods Online)

Canadian consumers were back in the market for furniture, mattress and major appliances in March with all three big ticket store categories reporting both monthly and year-over-year gains while ending the first quarter of 2015 on a high note - one that hasn't been seen in some time, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

Leading the charge were furniture stores, whose preliminary sales for March were set at an unadjusted $800.0 million by this country's national bean counter. This is not only 23.1% greater than the revised $649.7 million for February 2015 but 5.0% higher than the $761.8 million sold in March 2014.

This was also a new record monthly high as furniture stores have never before rung up $800 million in sales in March - that barrier isn't often broken until sometime in the second quarter at the earliest.

Every province across the country reported month-over-gains, ranging from 9.6% in Nova Scotia to 40.9% in neighbouring Prince Edward Island. Even those provinces hardest hit by the current drop in oil prices - Alberta and Saskatchewan - saw upticks of 16.2% and 12.3% respectively.

However, on a year-over-year basis March sales improved in Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia at rates ranging from 3.1% in Manitoba to 21.1% in B.C. All other provinces suffered downturns from 0.5% in Saskatchewan to 21.1% in Nova Scotia.

Furniture stores ended the first quarter with sales of $2.20 billion, a 4.0% gain over the $2.11 billion sold during the same period of 2014.

Gains were pegged in every province save P.E.I., Nova Scotia and Quebec. Leading the charge was B.C., where furniture store sales were up 17.0%. Sales in Canada's largest market, Ontario, were up 8.9% but down 6.3% in the country's second largest market, Quebec.

One observer noted that on a trailing 12 basis, furniture store sales were up 4.9% through the end of March 2015.

Home furnishings stores also see gains

Home furnishings stores - which sell everything from floor covering to lamps and lighting, linens, decorative accessories and wall art as well as furniture - saw their preliminary sales for March jump 19.0% to $476.3 million, from a revised $400.4 million for February. Sales were also up 6.7% over the $446.6 million sold in March 2014.

On a month-over-month basis, sales were up in every province except P.E.I., where they dropped a modest 1.2%. Gains ranged from 7.4% in Newfoundland to 26.2% in Quebec.

On a year-over-year basis, sales were down in Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta. Gains ranged from 3.0% in New Brunswick to 25.4% in B.C.

Home furnishings store sales for the year-to-date were $1.29 billion, a 5.5% uptick over the $1.23 billion rung-up in first quarter of 2014.

Sales were up in every province except P.E.I., Nova Scotia and Alberta. Gains ranged from 3.4% in Newfoundland to 22.9% in B.C., which is fast becoming the hottest market in the country.

On a trailing 12 basis, home furnishing store sales were up 4.7% through the end of March.

Electronics and appliances stores

Not to be left behind, Statistics Canada reported electronics and appliance store sales were set at a preliminary $1.15 billion for March, up 17.4% from the revised $980.3 million for February and up 4.3% over the $1.10 billion sold in March 2014.

Once again, on a month-over-month basis, sales were up in every province across the country, ranging from 8.5% in B.C. to 31.2% in Saskatchewan. However, on a year-over-year basis, sales were down in Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia and Manitoba. Sales were up in all other provinces, ranging from 1.3% in New Brunswick to 13.7% in Quebec.

For the first quarter, brown and white goods merchants had sales totalling $3.23 billion, up 4.9% from last year's $3.08 billion.

These gains were limited to three provinces - Quebec, Ontario and B.C. at an average of 7.4% - as all others saw slippages ranging from 0.1% in Alberta to 13.5% in P.E.I.

On a trailing 12 basis, electronics and appliance store sales were up 2.8% at the end of March.

All retail gains 1.8%

Statistics Canada also placed all location-based retail sales at $39.5 billion for March, a gain of 2.6% over March 2014.

Taking the biggest hit were gas stations, whose receipts were off 17.4% for the month, even though automotive dealers saw gains of 9.0%.

All retail less automotive recorded sales of $24.7 billion, a gain of 4.6%.

For the year-to-date, all location-based retail had stores sales of $108.3 billion, a 1.8% uptick over the first quarter of 2014. Remove the automotive sector and sales were $70.5 billion, 5.1% gain.

Most observers aren't expecting the gains made in the first quarter to continue on through the balance of 2015. Driving this will be the ongoing effect of low oil prices on much of the Canadian economy and the ‘pass through' impact on the depreciation of the Canadian dollar.

"Factoring in the hit from lower crude oil prices on incomes, we forecast that retail sales growth is likely to decelerate significantly this year to under 3% (y/y) from 4.6% last year," Admir Kolaj, an analyst with TD Economics said in a note to clients.

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