Statistics Canada says retail sales headed higher in September, rising 0.8% to $42.8 billion.

Economists had expected a gain of 0.5%, according to Thomson Reuters.

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The federal agency says the increase was largely as a result of higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. Without those, sales were unchanged from August. The sale of light trucks helped drive a 3.3% increase in sales at new car dealers, while dealers of recreational vehicles, motorcycles and boats saw a 6.8% increase.

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Nick Exarhos and Andrew Grantham of CIBC World Market Economics add, “It was all about auto in Canadian retail sales for September. Strong performances [were also] reported by furniture (1.3%) and electronics (1.2%). Gasoline wasn’t as much of a negative as expected, with filling station spending down only 0.2%.”

Provincially, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec accounted for most of the increase as eight provinces posted increases. Nova Scotia reported flat sales, while Prince Edward Island fell 1.1%.

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