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Manitoba sees retail slump in February after busy January

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A fast start to the year for Manitoba’s retail industry came to a grinding halt in February, new Statistics Canada data shows.

After posting the biggest provincial sales increase in the country in January — a revised 3.6 per cent — Manitoba’s retail industry posted the biggest provincial decline in February, at 1.3 per cent.

The agency said the province’s retailers saw their combined sales drop to $1.45 billion from $1.47 billion in January. The decline was partly attributable to weaker sales at new car dealers.

Manitoba’s month-over-month decline was the largest among the three provinces that posted weaker sales. However, it’s February’s total was still a 0.6 per cent improvement from a year earlier, when $1.44 billion worth of sales were reported.

Nationally, retail sales rose 0.5 per cent to $41.0 billion in February.

Statistics Canada said gains were reported in seven of 11 retail subsectors, representing 56 per cent of total sales.

Excluding sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers, sales advanced 0.8 per cent.

Sales at health and personal care stores grew by 2.6 per cent in dollar terms, the largest gain in any subsector.

The largest drop in dollar terms, 1.4 per cent, was reported at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers as they recorded their fifth monthly sales decrease in six months.

— Staff/Canadian Press

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