Canada June Retail Sales Rise Faster Than Expected on Phones

Canadian retail sales rose faster than economists forecast in June as shoppers took advantage of easier rules on mobile phone contracts.

Total sales increased 0.6 percent from the previous month to a record C$43.2 billion ($33 billion), Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast a 0.2 percent increase, based on the median of 20 projections.

Electronics and appliance store sales rose 9.4 percent, the fastest in records back to 1991, in a month where new regulations limited the duration of mobile phone contracts.

Sales rose in eight of 11 major categories representing 64 percent of retailing, including a 2.6 percent increase at gasoline stations on higher prices.

Consumer spending has been aided this year by job gains and low interest rates. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, campaigning for an Oct. 19 election, has touted the economy’s resilience through an oil shock that has curbed exports.

Today’s report supported Harper’s case, with sales gaining in all 10 of Canada’s provinces including Alberta where the damage from the oil crash is greatest.

The volume of sales, which excludes the effects of price changes and more closely reflects the industry’s contribution to economic growth, was little changed in June.

From the same month a year earlier, retail sales have increased by 1.4 percent.

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