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Canada January Retail Sales Rise Fastest in Eight Months on Cars

March 21 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian retail sales rose at the fastest pace in eight months in January, with the rebound led by automobiles and general merchandise stores.

Sales increased 1.3 percent to C$40.7 billion ($36.2 billion), following December’s revised 1.9 percent drop, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast a 0.7 percent increase, based on the median of 20 projections.

Canadian consumers remain the main source of growth in the world’s 11th largest economy at a time when shaky global demand has delayed what the Bank of Canada has said is a needed pickup in business investment and exports. Household spending has been supported by low interest rates and unemployment.

Motor vehicle and parts sales rose 2.2 percent to C$9.47 billion in January, a 7.7 percent increase over the prior 12 months. Purchases excluding the motor vehicle and parts category rose 1 percent in January, faster than the 0.7 percent increase economists had forecast.

Sales advanced in seven of 11 categories marking 83 percent of total sales, including a 2.2 percent increase at general merchandise stores to C$5.10 billion.

The volume of sales rose 1.4 percent. That measure excludes the effects of price changes and more closely reflects the industry’s contribution to economic growth.

Sales in January were 3.7 percent higher than a year earlier, Statistics Canada said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Quinn in Ottawa at gquinn1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Badertscher at pbadertscher@bloomberg.net Chris Fournier

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