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May 14, 2024

March wholesale sales decline

Wholesale sales (excluding petroleum, petroleum products, and other hydrocarbons and oilseed and grain) fell 1.1 percent to $81.4 billion in March, says Statistics Canada. Sales declined in three of the seven subsectors, with the largest decline coming from the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector. On an annual basis, wholesale sales were 0.4 percent lower in March 2024, compared with the same month one year earlier. In volume terms, wholesale sales declined 1.2 percent in March. Wholesale sales in the building material and supplies sector decreased 1.6 percent year over year to $11.8 billion.


A majority of the provinces reported a decrease in wholesale sales in March, with the largest coming in Quebec. Wholesale sales in Quebec decreased 2.0 percent to $14.7 billion in March, following an increase in February. Decreases were reported in six out of the seven subsectors, led by the building material and supplies (-5.4 percent to $2.2 billion), and the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories (-5.0 percent to $1.9 billion) subsectors.


The second largest provincial decrease was in British Columbia, down 2.5 percent to $7.7 billion in March, following an increase in February. Sales declines were reported in five out of the seven subsectors, led by the building material and supplies (-4.9 percent to $1.8 billion) as well as the food, beverage, and tobacco (-4.6 percent to $1.6 billion) subsectors.


Wholesale inventories rose 0.7 percent to $127.5 billion in March, in the wake of two successive monthly declines. Inventory increases were reported in five of the seven subsectors in March, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+1.5 percent to $38.8 billion).

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