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Retail sales rise 0.6 per cent in April after flat March


July 8, 2008
By The Canadian Press

July 8, 2008 – Retail sales showed more motivation in April, moving up 0.6 per cent to $35.6 billion after a flat showing in March.

Retail sales showed more motivation in April, moving up 0.6 per cent to $35.6 billion after a flat showing in March.

Statistics Canada said the latest numbers represented the fifth increase in the past seven months.

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But the results were below analyst expectations of a 0.8 per cent increase.


Sales
were higher in six of the eight retail sectors tracked by Statistics
Canada, with particularly strong momentum in clothing and accessories,
up 2.8 per cent on the month, and general merchandise, up 1.8 per cent.


Meanwhile, new-car sales declined 1.0 per cent month-over-month, while sales of used vehicles skidded 2.1 per cent.


The
uptick in clothing and merchandise was a sign that some consumers
delayed spring purchases from March, when retail results were affected
by unfavourable weather.


"After two disappointing months in
Canadian retail sales, consumers seemingly took advantage of the
improved April weather to go shopping," commented CIBC World Markets
economist Krishen Rangasamy.


"As in the prior month, April's
ex-auto sales were better than the headline, rising 1.1 per cent,
compared to 0.1 per cent in March."


Gasoline station sales also
moved higher, up 1.9 per cent – indicating a volume decline as pump
prices rose six per cent during the month.


The agency said that
while overall sales increased, six provinces had lower sales for the
month. Quebec's strong 3.4 per cent increase in sales pulled the
national tally into positive territory.


Quebec was playing catch-up after its March sales were battered by heavy snow.


Western
Canada had lower sales overall. Saskatchewan slipped for the first time
since April 2007 and Alberta dropped to its lowest sales results since
October.

The Canadian Press


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