Canadian retail sales advanced in February

April 23, 2013 at 9:44 AM

OTTAWA, April 23 (UPI) -- Retail sales in Canada rose 0.8 percent to $39.5 billion in February, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

Sales of general merchandise provided the biggest push with sales climbing 2.8 percent.

Sales at department stores rose 0.8 percent, but sales at gas stations rose 1.9 percent after three months of declines. Gas station sales rose, however, due to higher prices at the pump, Statistics Canada said.

For the second consecutive month sales of motor vehicles and parts rose, climbing 1 percent in February.

New car sales at dealerships rose 2 percent. Sales at used car dealers, however, fell 2.3 percent.

Sales excluding auto sales were up 0.7 percent, the data agency said.

After a month in which sales were flat, business picked up 1.3 percent at electronics and appliance stores in February -- not enough to offset a downward trend of more than a year in the sector.

Food and beverage sales rose 0.1 percent on the month with a 0.3 percent increase at supermarkets, partly offset by a 0.6 percent drop in sales at beer, wine and liquor stores.

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