Retail sales in Canada increased by 0.5% to $41bn in February, as against the same period last year, according to the data released by Statistics Canada.

In February, gains were reported in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 56% of total retail sales. After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms rose 0.1%.

Sales in health and personal care stores (+2.6%) recorded the largest advance in dollar terms among all subsectors on the strength of higher sales at pharmacies and drug stores and, to a lesser extent, food supplement stores.

General merchandise stores sales at grew 1.4%. Sales in the other general merchandise stores industry grew for a third consecutive month.

Following flat sales in January, food and beverage store sales grew 0.5% as a result of higher sales at all store types.

Sales in supermarkets and other grocery stores accounted for most of the gain, up by 0.4%. Convenience stores (+1.1%) and beer, wine and liquor stores (+0.1%) both advanced for the third consecutive month.

In contrast, the largest decline in dollar terms was reported at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-1.4%), the fifth monthly decrease in six months.

Sales at gasoline stations declined 0.3% in February, the first decrease in four months.
Geographically, retail sales rose in seven provinces in February.

Ontario reported the largest increase in dollar terms as gains were widespread across most store types and British Columbia reported the largest decrease in dollar terms, due to weaker sales at building, material and garden equipment and supplies dealers.