Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MRTS)

Summary of changes

Activity on this program started: 1930

Reference period of change - February 2022

Beginning with this release, this survey is based on a new restratified sample. The purpose of a restratification is to improve a sample to account for changes to a population that occur over time. As a result, estimates for previous periods have been revised to account for the new levels from the restratified sample. In addition, data have been revised to incorporate new information based on late receipt of respondent information, correction of information on data provided, the replacement of estimated figures with actual values (once available), the reclassification of companies within, into and out of the retail trade industry and updates to seasonal and trading day factors. Seasonally adjusted estimates have been revised back to January 2014. Unadjusted estimates have been revised back to January 2017.

Reference period of change - June 2021

Starting with this release and going back to reference period of January 2021, retail sales expressed in constant dollars for most industries will be deflated using industry based price indexes from Retail Services Price Index.

Reference period of change - October 2018

Starting with this month's release, cannabis stores are included in the Monthly Retail Trade Survey sample.

Reference period of change - February 2018

Starting with this month's release, data collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey are classified according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS 2017).

Reference period of change - July 2016

As of the July 2016 reference month, the questionnaire for the Retail Commodity Survey (RCS) has been combined with the questionnaire for the Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MRTS). Please see Record number 2008 for further information on the RCS.

Starting with this month, electronic questionnaire was added as a mode of data collection.

Reference period of change - February 2013

Starting with this month's release, data collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey are classified according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS 2012).

Reference period of change - February 2010

Beginning with this release, this survey is based on a new restratified sample. The purpose of a restratification is to improve a sample to account for changes to a population that occur over time. As a result, estimates for previous periods have been revised to account for the new levels from the restratified sample. In addition, data have been revised to incorporate new information based on late receipt of respondent information, correction of information on data provided, the replacement of estimated figures with actual values (once available), the reclassification of companies within, into and out of the retail trade industry and updates to seasonal and trading day factors.

Data for retail trade are presented based directly on the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS 2007) basis, rather than using the trade group variant of NAICS.

The unadjusted and seasonally adjusted estimates are revised back to January 2004.

Reference period of change - October 2005

This release marks the implementation of measures to reduce response burden in the Monthly Retail Trade Survey. Data previously collected via questionnaire for a number of simple retail establishments in the survey sample are now replaced with modeled estimates based on Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns.

Unadjusted and seasonally adjusted monthly estimates in current and constant dollars have been revised starting from January 2003.

Reference period of change - February 2005

Retail sales estimates are usually revised every year with the February release. This year, both unadjusted and seasonally adjusted retail sales have been revised, for some series, as far back as January 1991. Constant dollar retail sales were uniformly revised back to January 1997.

These revisions were necessary to include late receipt of sales estimates from retailers (thus replacing imputed data), changes to reported information, changes in the classification of some businesses and updates to seasonal and trading day factors.

Reference period of change - December 2004

The recently redesigned collection facility for the survey has the flexibility to allow the addition of up to three supplementary questions in any month. The questions can be of three types: yes/no; a dollar value or count; or free form text.

For the December 2004 reference period, two supplementary questions about business experience with gift cards were asked:
1 - Did your business offer gift cards for sale during the recent Christmas holiday season?
2 - Did your business offer gift cards for sale during the 2003 Christmas holiday season?

Reference period of change - April 2004

Starting with this month's release, data collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey are classified according to the trade group variant of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS 2002), which is not comparable to the previously used Standard Industrial Classification (SIC 1980). Consequently, retail sales estimates have been revised from January 1991 to March 2004. In the NAICS 2002, the retail trade sector now includes home renovation centres and computer and software stores, which were previously classified in the wholesale trade sector in the SIC 1980. In addition, all automotive repair shops have been transferred from the retail trade sector to the services sector.

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