Canadians buying home renovation supplies to take advantage of a temporary tax credit helped boost retail sales by 0.7 per cent in January for a 6 per cent year-over-year increase, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Auto sales fell 1.5 per cent despite a jump in new car prices in the month. Retail sales excluding vehicles and vehicle parts rose 1.8 per cent in January and 5.5 per cent compared with a year earlier.
Both total sales and sales ex-autos topped market expectations of a 0.6 per cent monthly rise for each, according to a Reuters poll.
Statscan said sales volumes, which have been trending up since the beginning of 2009, increased 0.1 per cent in January.
Sales at building and outdoor supplies stores jumped 7.4 per cent, the steepest increase in 6 years, due to a last-minute rush by home owners before the federal government's home renovations tax credit ended in February, Statscan said.
Sales were also strong at furniture, home furnishings and electronics stores as well as at food and beverage, miscellaneous and clothing and footwear stores.