July 23, 2013 / 12:37 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Canada May retail sales leap by 1.9 pct, biggest jump in 3 years

* Retail sales record biggest jump since March 2010

* Autos help drive sales to record high

OTTAWA, July 23 (Reuters) - Higher auto sales helped drive Canadian retail sales 1.9 percent higher in May from April, the biggest monthly jump for more than three years, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

The advance - far greater than the 0.4 percent growth predicted by market operators - is the largest since the 2.8 percent increase recorded in March 2010. Retail sales hit a record C$40.42 billion ($39.24 billion) in May, up from the previous high of C$39.77 billion set in November 2012.

Higher sales were reported in nine of the 11 subsectors, representing 94 percent of total retail trade. In volume terms, sales were also up 1.9 percent.

The largest sales increase in dollar terms among all subsectors was a 4.3 percent gain at motor vehicle and parts dealers, reflecting higher sales of light trucks as well as recreational vehicles, motorcycles and boats.

Sales at food and beverage stores rose by 1.1 percent while a later start to the spring planting season helped push up sales at building materials and garden equipment and supplies dealers by 3.7 percent.

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