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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

May 19, 2023

MONTH OVER MONTH (seasonally adjusted March 2023 vs. February 2023)


In Nova Scotia retail trade decreased 3.3% to $1,704 million. Nationally, retail trade declined 1.4% to $65.3 billion. Only one province reported monthly increases in retail trade. British Columbia reported the only gain, and New Brunswick reported the largest decline.

YEAR OVER YEAR (March 2023 vs. March 2022)

In Nova Scotia retail trade increased 1.5%. Nationally, retail trade increased 2.4%. Nine provinces reported year-over-year increases in retail trade. Prince Edward Island reported the largest gain with New Brunswick reporting the only decline.

YEAR TO DATE (January-March 2023 vs January-March 2022)

Nova Scotia retail trade increased 5.2%. Nationally, retail trade increased 3.8%. All provinces reported year-to-date increases in retail trade, with Prince Edward Island and Alberta reporting the largest gains. British Columbia  reported the smallest gain.


Retail Trade increased 5.2% to $5.3 billion.  In dollar terms, Motor vehicles/Parts ($1.022 billion), Food & beverage stores ($933 million), Gas stations ($758 million) and  General merchandise ($567 million) contributed most to year-to-date sales.

In percentage terms, electronics/appliances stores recorded the only year-to-date declines.  Other retail categories that had significant year-to-date increases included health/personal care stores, miscellaneous retail, clothing stores, and gas stations.



Retail sales moved sharply during periods of pandemic-related restrictions. National and Nova Scotia’s retail sales have followed similar trend in recent months with Nova Scotia growth index exceeding the national index in September 2022 through March 2023, but recently declining to be on a par with national statistics. 


In March 2023, Canada's ecommerce sales increased 2.2% over the previous month to $3.830 billion, or 5.9% of total retail sales.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table: 20-10-0056-01, Monthly retail trade sales by province and territory (x 1,000)

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