(Corrects December drop to 2.2 percent in third paragraph.)
Sales climbed 0.8 percent to C$39.5 billion ($38.4 billion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa, following a revised increase of 0.9 percent in the prior month. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast a 0.3 percent increase, based on the median of 21 projections.
The data suggest consumers may have recovered some confidence after December’s 2.2 percent decline in sales, the biggest drop in more than two years, and adds to evidence the economy may be gathering speed after ending last year with the slowest rate of growth since the 2009 recession.
In volume terms, sales were little changed, suggesting gains stemmed from higher prices. That measure more closely reflects the industry’s contribution to real economic growth. Sales were up 1.5 percent from a year earlier, Statistics Canada said.
Sales at new car dealers rose 2 percent in February, while gasoline stations recorded a 1.9 percent rise. Purchases excluding the motor vehicle and parts category increased 0.7 percent, faster than the 0.6 percent economists predicted.
Receipts advanced in seven of 11 categories marking 82 percent of total sales. Furniture and home furnishing stores led declines with a 2.5 percent drop in proceeds, suggesting a slowing housing market is having an impact on sales for that industry.
To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at firstname.lastname@example.org