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Statistics Canada says retail sales up 4.8 per cent in February

Last Updated Apr 28, 2021 at 8:29 am MDT

Statistics Canada says retail sale fell 0.1 per cent in August to $51.5 billion as sales at food and beverage stores dropped. A few shoppers browse the sprawling New Horizon Mall in Calgary on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 4.8 per cent to $55.1 billion in February, led by gains at motor-vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations.

The agency says the overall increase came as core retail sales — which exclude gasoline stations and motor-vehicle and parts dealers — climbed 3.8 per cent in February, the first increase in three months.

Statistics Canada also said that its preliminary estimate for March suggested a gain of 2.3 per cent for the month, but cautioned the figure would be revised.

Sales at motor-vehicle and parts dealers rose 5.0 per cent in February, boosted by a 5.6 per cent increase at new car dealers and a 9.2 per cent increase at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores.

Boosting core retail sales was a 6.1 per cent gain at general merchandise stores and a 23.7 per cent jump at clothing and clothing accessories stores, the first gain for the category since September 2020.

In volume terms, overall retail sales rose 4.3 per cent in February.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2021.

The Canadian Press