November 22, 2011 / 2:19 PM / in 6 years

Retail sales power ahead in September

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian consumers spent more than expected on retail purchases in September, particularly on new vehicles, in another sign of robust economic growth in the third quarter.

Retail sales grew by 1 percent in the month, the biggest gain in almost a year and double the market forecast of a 0.5 percent increase, according to Statistics Canada data on Tuesday.

Revised data for August showed sales were slightly stronger than originally reported in that month, up 0.6 percent versus 0.5 percent previously.

Stripping out price effects in September, which helped drive up gasoline, sales climbed by a still-healthy 0.6 percent.

New car dealers sold 3.7 percent more than the previous month, leading the gains, but 9 of 11 retail subsectors representing 90 percent of total sales also reported increases. Excluding autos, sales climbed 0.5 percent, a notch above the average estimate.

These gains were partially offset by declining sales at department stores and health and personal care stores.

Compared with September 2010, retail sales were up 4.2 percent compared with 4 percent in August.

Reporting by Louise Egan, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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