UPDATE 1-Canada retail sales unchanged in March, gas prices a drag

Wed May 22, 2013 8:35am EDT
 
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* Sales rose by 0.7 percent in volume terms

* Market operators had expected a 0.1 percent rise

OTTAWA, May 22 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian retail sales in March was unchanged from February, due largely to the drag caused by lower gas prices, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday.

Analysts had expected retail sales to grow 0.1 percent from February. Statscan trimmed February's month-on-month growth to 0.7 percent from an initial 0.8 percent.

After removing the effects of price changes, particularly less expensive gasoline, retail sales in volume terms grew by 0.7 percent. Higher sales were reported in six of 11 subsectors, representing 47 percent of total retail sales.

Gasoline station sales decreased by 1.3 percent, which mainly reflected lower prices at the pump. The largest increase in sales was the 3.1 percent rise at clothing and clothing accessories stores.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose by 0.7 percent, a third consecutive monthly gain. Sales in food and beverage stores, the largest of the 11 subsectors, fell by 0.1 percent from February.