Building Material Sales Lead Wholesale Sales

Wholesale sales grew for a fourth consecutive month in August, though at a much slower pace compared with the previous three months, says Statistics Canada. Sales edged up 0.3 per cent to $65.7 billion in August after growing 5.2 per cent in July. While four of seven subsectors increased in August, led by higher sales in the building material and supplies, declines in the personal and household goods and the food, beverage, and tobacco subsectors partially offset the increases. Sales in the building material and supplies subsector reached a record high level of $9.8 billion, as sales rose for a fourth consecutive month in August (seven per cent). The increase in August was mainly due to stronger activity in the lumber, millwork, hardware, and other building supplies industry which grew 12.2 per cent to $5.5 billion. In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 0.1 per cent in August. After growing for the fourth consecutive month, wholesale sales in August were 1.7 per cent above pre-COVID-19 levels. Four subsectors reported shipments in August that were higher than in February 2020, led by miscellaneous goods and building material and supply sales. Sales were higher in eight provinces in August than in February 2020, led by British Columbia, whose sales were $437 million (+6.9 per cent) above pre-pandemic levels. Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador recorded sales lower than February 2020 after weaker sales in August. Wholesale inventories were flat in August at $90 billion.