Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 4.8 per cent to $55.1 billion in February, led by gains at motor-vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations.
The agency says the overall increase came as core retail sales — which exclude gasoline stations and motor-vehicle and parts dealers — climbed 3.8 per cent in February, the first increase in three months.
Statistics Canada also said that its preliminary estimate for March suggested a gain of 2.3 per cent for the month, but cautioned the figure would be revised.
Sales at motor-vehicle and parts dealers rose five per cent in February, boosted by a 5.6 per cent increase at new car dealerships and a 9.2 per cent increase at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores.
Boosting core retail sales was a 6.1 per cent gain at general merchandise stores and a 23.7 per cent jump for clothing and clothing accessories stores, the first gain for the category since September 2020.
In volume terms, overall retail sales rose 4.3 per cent in February.