Annual Retail and Wholesale Trade Survey

Detailed information for 1997





Record number:


The Annual Wholesale and Retail Trade Survey (AWRTS) collects data from a sample of wholesalers and independent retailers on their operating revenues and expenditures by trade group at national and provincial or territorial levels.

Data release - December 23, 1999


The Annual Wholesale and Retail Trade Survey (AWRTS) collects data from a sample of wholesalers and independent retailers on their operating revenues and expenditures by trade group at national and provincial or territorial levels. This information is required by all levels of government to develop national and regional economic programs and policies and is used by businesses, trade associations and others to assist in decision making, marketing efforts and to assess business conditions. Data on retail chain and department store organizations are collected from the Annual Retail Chain and Department Store Survey (survey #2447). Data on non-store retail activity on an annual basis are collected from the Survey of Automotive Vending Machine Operators (survey #2404, last conducted for the 1996 reference year) and from Survey of Direct Selling in Canada (survey #2405, last conducted for the 1997 reference year).

Reference period: Calendar year

Collection period: March to May


  • Retail and wholesale
  • Retail sales by type of store
  • Wholesale sales and inventories

Data sources and methodology


This is a sample survey.

Subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. A measure of the sampling error is provided using the coefficient of variation. Non-sampling errors measures are provided for current year using the response fraction (about 93%). Annual estimates are reconcilied with estimates derived from the monthly surveys.


Imputation for full or partial response is performed automatically by the system using a method it selects from a variety available by the system (i.e. annualized monthly data, value of a similar unit, etc.). In addition, values for companies who ceased their activities during the calendar year were also imputed. The reported (or imputed) values for each company are multiplied by the weight for that unit and the weighted values are summed to produce estimate. An initial weight equal to the increase of the original probability of selection is assigned to each entity. These weights are subsequently adjusted for the achieved sample size to inflate the estimate to represent the entire population. Survey estimates are supplemented by estimates for non-employer business derived from an analysis of income tax data from 1984 to 1987.

Quality evaluation

This survey is based on the sample of the Monthly Wholesale and Retail Trade Surveys any time during the survey reference year. It is a Census of all designated large size retail or wholesale organizations and retail chains. The census is supplemented by a sample of all other small size organizations (retail and wholesale) and wholesale grain and petroleum dealers. Sampled companies are contacted by the 7 Statistics Canada regional offices, either by mail (questionnaire) or telephone interview for data collection. Follow-up for non response is done by telephone immediately following pre-determined data collection target dates. Data capture and preliminary edit are performed simultaneously to ensure the validity of the data. Data and frame updates are transmitted to Ottawa.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that 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.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.


  • Wholesaling and Retailing in Canada
    This annual publication replaces the two previous annual publications covering distributive trades in Canada, Wholesale Trade in Canada (AWTS) and Annual Retail Trade (ARTS).

    Available through the On-line catalogue number 63-236-XIB
Date modified: