OTTAWA – Retail sales rose 0.7 per cent in May, boosted by sales of new cars and trucks, according to Statistics Canada.
The agency says sales reached $42 billion in the month as gains were made across seven sectors that account for more than half of all retail trade.
Economists had expected a gain of 0.6 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
Statistics Canada says motor vehicle sales, along with auto parts, led the way as they gained 2.5 per cent.
Sales of new cars and trucks rose 2.3 per cent in May, with a record 197,740 sold, following on a 3.5 per cent jump in April.
Excluding autos, retail sales were up 0.1 per cent for the month. Economists had expected a gain of 0.3 per cent.
For the seventh consecutive month, gasoline stations reported higher sales, up by two per cent in May.
And after a slow start to spring, sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers rose 3.5 per cent.
Other sectors seeing increases included furniture and home furnishings stores, up 3.7 per cent, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, where sales grew 2.1 per cent, and convenience stores, up by 2.3 per cent.
Food and beverage stores saw sales decrease 1.6 per cent with declines mainly at supermarkets and other grocery stores.
Beer, wine and liquor store sales were also down by 2.5 per cent, and in health and personal care stores, where sales were lower by 1.2 per cent — their first decline in four months.