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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales in February rose a greater-than-expected 0.8 percent from January, pushed up by higher sales at general merchandise stores and gas stations, Statistics Canada data indicated on Tuesday.
The increase was greater than the 0.3 percent advance predicted by market operators. Statscan trimmed January's growth to 0.9 percent, from an initial 1.0 percent.
Higher sales were reported in seven of 11 subsectors, representing 82 percent of total retail trade. In volume terms, sales were flat.
The January and February retail sales gains were the best back-to-back monthly performance since the 1.0 percent and 0.8 percent advances in September and October 2011, respectively.
General merchandise stores reported a 2.8 percent jump in sales from January while higher prices at the pump pushed up sales at gas stations by 1.9 percent after three straight month-on-month declines.
Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose by 1.0 percent. Receipts at furniture and home furnishing stores dropped by 2.5 percent.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Nick Zieminski