Wholesale sales rose 0.8 per cent to $53.9 billion in March after two consecutive monthly declines, said Statistics Canada Wednesday. Higher sales were recorded in five of seven subsectors, accounting for 66 per cent of total wholesale sales.
In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 1.0 per cent.
Following two consecutive monthly declines, the building material and supplies subsector recorded the largest gain in dollar terms in March, rising 2.8 per cent to $7.6 billion. Gains in the electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies industry, up 4.7 per cent, and the lumber, millwork, hardware and other building supplies industry, up 3 per cent, accounted for the increase.
Following two consecutive monthly declines, the motor vehicle and parts subsector increased 0.7 per cent to $8.9 billion, led by higher sales in the motor vehicle industry, which had an increase of 1.2 per cent.
In March, sales rose 1.9 per cent to $26.3 billion in Ontario on the strength of gains in the building material and supplies subsector and the motor vehicle and parts subsector.
In British Columbia, sales rose 0.8 per cent to $5.3 billion, the highest value on record. The building material and supplies subsector contributed the most to the gain.
Meanwhile, inventories rose 1 per cent to $71.4 billion in March. Gains were recorded in four of seven subsectors, which together represented 62 per cent of wholesale inventories.
The largest gain in dollar terms occurred in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, up 2.4 per cent, its fourth consecutive monthly increase.
The inventory-to-sales ratio remained at 1.32 in March. The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.