OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale sales increased for the ninth time in 12 months in March, rising 0.4 percent from February on strength in the motor vehicles and parts subsector, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
The gain was slightly greater than the 0.3 percent advance forecast by market analysts. In volume terms, sales were unchanged.
Higher sales were reported in three of the seven sub-sectors, representing almost half of total wholesale sales. Sales of motor vehicles and parts rose by 2.4 percent while sales of food, beverages and tobacco grew by 1.3 percent.
Sales of machinery, equipment and supplies dropped by 1.4 percent, thanks largely to a 2.7 percent drop in shipments of computer and communications equipment and supplies.
Wholesale sales were up by 6.0 percent from March 2011, less than the revised 6.9 percent year-on-year change recorded in February.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama