Retail Services Price Index (RSPI)

Detailed information for third quarter 2016





Record number:


The purpose of the survey is to collect and compile price data to measure the monthly change in the movement of the price of retail services over time. These price data are combined and the component indexes chained to form a price index. The estimates are produced on a quarterly basis.

Data release - February 16, 2017


The Retail Services Price Index is constructed from price data collected by the Retail Trade Price Report. These price data are combined to estimate a price index for retail services that can be joined with other business services indexes to provide better estimates of real output and productivity, monitor inflation and feed an important research agenda at Statistics Canada.

Statistical activity

This index is part of the Services Producer Price Index program (SPPI) at Statistics Canada.

The SPPI program develops and produces price indexes for a number of business service categories. This initiative fills an important data gap in the area of economic statistics and has resulted in a more comprehensive set of service price indexes. These indexes allow Statistics Canada to produce more accurate estimates of real-value added (Gross Domestic Product) and changes in productivity.

Reference period: The time period for which the RSPI equals 100; currently this is the year 2013.

Collection period: Collection takes place during the quarter following the reference quarter.


  • Prices and price indexes
  • Retail and wholesale
  • Service price indexes

Data sources and methodology

Target population

For the RSPI, the target population consists of all enterprises with at least one establishment classified to the retail sector (NAICS 44-45) on the Business Register (BR) as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS 2012), excluding Automobile and Other Motor Vehicle Dealers and Non-Store Retailers (NAICS 4411, 4412 and 454).

Instrument design

Pricing methodologies and questionnaire design were researched and based on internationally accepted practice. The Retail Trade Price Report was developed and tested through consultation and collaboration with retailers, industry experts and the Questionnaire Design and Research Centre at Statistics Canada.


This is a sample survey with a longitudinal design.

The frame consists of those units on Statistics Canada's Business Register with at least one operation classified to the retail sector (NAICS 44-45). The population is stratified by 5-digit NAICS and by size based on revenue. The sample is allocated to strata by revenue and selected based on probability proportional to size using Sequential Poisson sampling. The sampling unit is at the enterprise level.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Monthly data are collected on a quarterly basis via electronic questionnaire and by mail out, mail back paper questionnaires, while telephone communication (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) is used for non-response and data follow-up. Several follow-up contacts can be made including sending out an email, fax or letter reminder in order to collect data.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

Error detection is conducted at the time of data collection and also during post collection processing, using a set of systematized error detection procedures to identify outliers and possible reporting anomalies. Records that fail these edits are reviewed for editing and correction when necessary or edit failure may trigger a follow-up with the respondent.


Non-response or missing price data are imputed using the averages of designated cells from responding units within the same strata.



The Retail Services Price Index (RSPI) uses enterprise revenues from the Business Register and industry gross margins from Annual Retail Trade Survey (record number 2447) as its weighting sources.


Estimates are produced by calculating a weighted average of price relatives by industry, which are chained together to form an index series. The RSPI is a Laspeyres chain linked index, available at the Canada level only.

Quality evaluation

The survey methodology was designed to control for errors and to reduce their potential impact on estimates. The data are subject to collection and processing validations on key variables and most non-essential data. Analysis at the index level is also performed at various stages of aggregation. Qualitative assessment is done using an internationally developed framework for producer price indexes that considers program elements such as the type of price being used, timeliness and relevance.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Collected data are converted to a price index and data are released as such, so that it is not possible to identify the suppliers of the original raw price information.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Data for the most recent quarter are preliminary. The previous quarter of the series is subject to revision. The series is also subject to an annual revision released with second quarter data of the following reference year. The indexes are not seasonally adjusted.

Data accuracy

The statistical accuracy of this index depends on price and weight data obtained from sample surveys. Each type of input data is subject to its own errors. Processing procedures for editing and imputation are in place to ensure the quality of data. Consequently, the aggregate indices at all levels are considered to be statistically reliable.

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