UPDATE 1-Canadian January retail sales up on autos

Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:36am EDT
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* Retail sales up 1.0 percent on month after December plunge

* Auto sales up by 2.8 percent

* Retail volume unchanged

OTTAWA, March 21 (Reuters) - Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers helped boost Canadian retail trade by 1.0 percent in January, partly offsetting a sharp decline in December, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

The advance - slightly higher than the 0.9 percent increase predicted by analysts - followed a revised 2.3 percent drop in December. In volume terms, used for calculating real GDP growth, retail sales were unchanged.

Gains were reported in seven of 11 subsectors, representing 52 percent of total retail trade. Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 2.8 percent in January after a 6.5 percent plunge in December.

Sales at electronics and appliance stores rose by 2.3 percent after a 12.3 percent drop in December. Sales at the stores had jumped in November as Apple unveiled its iPad mini.

The retail figures, which follow disappointing wholesale and manufacturing data, suggest GDP growth in January will be moderate as Canada struggles to cope with market uncertainty in the United States and Europe.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who will reveal his budget later on Thursday, said earlier this month that government revenues were lower than he had initially expected.