April 23, 2009

Canadian retail nudges up in February

Canadian retail sales edged up 0.2 percent in February to $33.7 billion after major declines in November and December, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

Of eight sectors, sales rose in five, led by a 3 percent gain in the building and outdoor home supplies sector, StatsCan said.

The food and beverage retail sector saw a 0.7 increase, most of which the agency said was linked to sales at beer, wine and liquor stores.

The largest decline was a 1.9 percent decrease in sales at furniture, home furnishings and electronics stores in February, the report said.

The automotive sector also had a decline from January, down 0.3 percent, mainly reflecting a 1.6 percent decline in the value of sales at new car dealers.

Regionally, the country was equally split with increases and declines in five provinces. Quebec led with a 1.1 percent increase in retail trade and Alberta and British Columbia both fell by 1.3 percent, the agency said.