Statistics Canada says wholesale sales rose 0.3 percent in August to $70.3 billion, the first increase following two months of declines.
The agency says the gain came as sales of food, beverage and tobacco products rose 3.8 percent in August to $13.1 billion to top March 2020 sales for the first time.
According to the report from Statistics Canada, the food, beverage, and tobacco subsector was found to be the most stable subsector of the wholesale sector.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, monthly sales in this subsector initially fell 10%, then rose quickly and stabilized at a level roughly 5% to 6% below pre-pandemic levels.
This was largely the result of Canadians increasing food purchases at grocery stores and lowering them at restaurants.
As pandemic restrictions eased and more restaurants reopened with greater capacity, food sales have risen in four of the past six months and surpassed pre-pandemic levels in August.
Sales in the building material and supplies subsector climbed 2.3 percent higher to $11.4 billion.
In August, the increase was largely due to higher sales of electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning equipment and supplies (+6.8%) and may reflect downstream effects from a strong spring in home construction.
Meanwhile, metal service centre industries rose 4.9%. Sales in the lumber and other building supplies industry fell 0.9%, the third consecutive decline, as prices for lumber in Canada continued to decrease.
Elsewhere, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories sales fell 4.2 percent in August to $10.3 billion due in part to the ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips.
Sales of machinery, equipment and supplies dropped 1.7 percent to $14.4 billion.
Wholesale sales in constant dollar terms rose 0.3 percent in August.
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