A surge in new-vehicle sales helped to drive up retail sales in Manitoba at the fastest rate in the country in January, Statistics Canada said today.
The agency said local retailers rang up $1.5 billion worth of sales during the month, which was a 6.1 per cent improvement from the previous month’s total of $1.4 billion and a 6.3 per cent gain from a year earlier.
"Following a 3.9 per cent decrease in December, sales rose sharply in Manitoba as higher sales were reported at new-car dealers," the agency said.
It also noted it was the eighth month-over-month increase in 10 months for Manitoba’s retail industry.
Nationally, sales rose 1.3 per cent to $40.7 billion in January, partially offsetting a decline in December.
Statistics Canada said gains were reported in seven of 11 subsectors, representing 83 per cent of total retail sales.
In January, six subsectors experienced a bounce back from lower sales in December, led by a 2.2 per cent increase at motor-vehicle and parts dealers.
A 7.0 per cent sales increase at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers almost offset the weather-influenced decline in December.
The largest decline in dollar terms was in the health and personal care stores subsector, where sales were off 1.3 per cent, the first decrease since February 2013.
Statistics Canada noted retail sales rose in nine provinces in January, after falling in every province in December. Quebec was the only one to post a decline, albeit a small one — 0.1 per cent.
— Staff/Canadian Press