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OTTAWA, July 23 (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales rose 1.0 percent to a record C$42.97 billion ($33.05 billion) in May, topping expectations and rebounding from steep declines in December and January, according to Statistics Canada data on Thursday.
Sales tallies, all seasonally adjusted, increased in February and March but dipped 0.1 percent in April. They had fallen in December because of cheaper gasoline and a shift of Christmas shopping from December to November.
The retail data will help brighten up what has been a relatively gloomy economic outlook for the second quarter, with the Bank of Canada predicting a second straight quarterly contraction. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected retail sales to rise 0.5 percent in May.
Volumes rose by 0.4 percent from April and were 2.5 percent higher than the same period a year ago.
Autos, gasoline and electronics and appliances led the sales increases in May.
$1=$1.30 Canadian Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Paul Simao