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March retail sales in Canada $39.5 billion

Staff writer |
Retail sales in Canada were flat in March, holding at $39.5 billion, according to Statistics Canada. Higher sales were reported in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 47% of total retail sales.

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After removing the effects of price changes, particularly lower gasoline prices, retail sales in volume terms rose 0.7%.

The largest increase in sales among all subsectors was a 3.1% rise at clothing and clothing accessories stores. Higher sales at clothing stores led the gain, rising 3.5%, the third increase in four months. Sales at shoe stores (+0.9%) advanced for a fourth straight month. Following three consecutive monthly declines, gains were reported by jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores (+2.3%).

Sales at Canadian motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 0.7%, a third consecutive monthly gain. Higher receipts at other motor vehicle dealers (+6.1%) and at new car dealers (+0.3%) accounted for most of the gain. The advance in sales in the "other motor vehicle dealers" industry did not offset the decline in February. This industry includes retailers of recreational vehicles, motorcycles and boats.

Furniture and home furnishings stores posted a 0.3% increase in sales, reflecting stronger sales at furniture stores (+1.2%). Home furnishings stores (-1.0%) declined for a fourth month in a row.

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers edged up 0.1%. Sales in this subsector have been relatively flat since the middle of 2012. Gasoline station sales decreased 1.3% in March, mainly reflecting lower prices at the pump.

Following two consecutive monthly gains, sales at general merchandise stores declined 0.6% in March. Weaker sales were reported by department stores (-0.6%) and other general merchandise stores (-0.6%).

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