Wholesale sales rose 2.1% to $83.4 billion in October. The largest increases were in the miscellaneous goods, the building material and supplies, and the personal and household goods subsectors, accounting for 82.4% of the monthly gain. Sales rose in six of seven subsectors. Constant dollar sales rose 0.9% in October.

Miscellaneous goods lead the increase in October

Sales of the miscellaneous goods subsector rose 5.5% to $13.0 billion in October, rebounding after a sharp decline in September. Monthly gains were reported in four of the five industries, but the bulk of the increase and driver of the rebound was the agricultural supplies industry (+10.4% to $5.2 billion). Higher prices of commodities, availability of transportation and seasonality were driving factors of the fluctuation.

The building material and supplies subsector rose 3.3% to $12.6 billion in October, on higher sales in the lumber, millwork, hardware and other building supplies industry (+6.0% to $6.4 billion), which reported its first increase since March 2022. Products of this industry are mainly equipment for non-residential building supplies and hardware. 

For a third consecutive month, sales of the personal and household goods subsector increased, up 2.8% in October to $11.6 billion. The gain was led by the pharmaceuticals and pharmacy supplies industry (+3.9%), reaching a level of $6.4 billion, the highest since January 2022.

Sales rise in every province

Wholesale sales increased in every province in October. Sales in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario led the monthly increase and accounted for 78.1% of national sales.

Inventories continue to grow in October

Inventories rose 0.6% to $125.8 billion in October, the ninth consecutive monthly increase. Increased inventories were reported in four of the seven subsectors, led by the personal and household goods subsector and by the food, beverage and tobacco subsector. Meanwhile, the farm products, machinery, equipment and supplies, and miscellaneous subsectors all saw a decrease in inventories.

The inventory-to-sales ratio decreased from 1.53 in September to 1.51 in October. This ratio is a measure of the time (in months) required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current levels.

Source: Statistics Canada