Wholesale sales down 1.1 per cent in March

Statistics Canada says wholesale sales, excluding petroleum, petroleum products, and other hydrocarbons and oilseed and grain, fell 1.1 per cent to $81.4 billion in March.

The agency says the overall decline came as sales were down in three of the seven subsectors it tracks.

The motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector posted the largest drop as sales fell 5.8 per cent to $13.4 billion in March. The motor vehicle industry group dropped 7.0 per cent to $10.6 billion as several auto plants undertook retooling work, while the new and used motor vehicle parts industry group fell 1.2 per cent to $2.7 billion.

The miscellaneous subsector fell 5.0 per cent to $10.2 billion in March, while the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector rose 1.6 per cent to $17.9 billion.

In volume terms, wholesale sales, excluding petroleum, petroleum products, and other hydrocarbons and oilseed and grain, fell 1.2 per cent in March.

Statistics Canada started including oilseed and grain as well as the petroleum and petroleum products subsector as part of wholesale trade last year but is excluding the data from monthly analysis until there is enough historical data.