Wholesale Trade Increases

Sales in the wholesale trade sector rose 0.3 per cent in August to $70.3 billion, the first increase following two months of declines, says Statistics Canada. The sales of food, beverage, tobacco, building materials, supplies, and miscellaneous products increased by 2.9 per cent, while sales in the other four subsectors combined fell 2.1 per cent. Also, the building material and supplies subsector posted a 2.3 per cent increase to $11.4 billion in August. However, for the first time in over a year, lumber did not drive sales. Instead, the increase was largely due to sales of electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning equipment, and supplies (up 6.8 per cent), due to strong construction last spring. Additionally, metal service centre industries rose 4.9 per cent, sales in the lumber and other building supplies industry fell 0.9 per cent, and motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories sales fell 4.2 per cent. Furthermore, the value of wholesale inventories increased for a fourth consecutive month, rising 1.7 per cent in August to the highest level on record at $97.3 billion. Inventories of building materials and supplies rose 4.2 per cent, metal service centres contributed 62 per cent of the growth, and inventories in the lumber, millwork, hardware, and other building supplies industry rose two per cent.