September 22, 2017 / 12:35 PM / a year ago

Canada retail sales rise more than expected in July on cars, food

A woman browses in the fruit section of a Loblaw supermarket in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales rose more than expected in July as consumers spent more on new cars, as well as food and alcohol, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.

The 0.4 percent increase topped economists’ expectations for a gain of 0.1 percent, although volumes declined by 0.2 percent.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers led the way up with a 0.8 percent rise. Purchases of new cars increased 1.4 percent on both higher prices and volumes, offsetting declines at used auto dealers.

Canadian auto sales have been solid so far this year, potentially putting 2017 on track for a record.

Sales at food and beverage stores rose 0.9 percent, the fourth monthly increase in a row. All types of retailers in this group had higher sales, led by supermarkets and other grocery stores, and beer, wine and liquor stores.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr

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