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Statistics Canada says retail sales were virtually unchanged in March at $60.1-billion as sales at new car dealers fell to help offset gains elsewhere.

The result compared with the agency’s initial estimate for the month suggested sales rose 1.4 per cent. The preliminary estimate for April suggests retail sales rose 0.8 per cent for the month, but the agency cautioned the figure will be revised.

Statistics Canada says sales in March were up in 10 of the 11 subsectors it tracks, representing 75 per cent of retail trade.

However, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 6.4 per cent as new car dealers saw a drop of 5.9 per cent. Sales at gasoline stations rose 7.4 per cent in March.

Core retail sales – which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers – increased 1.5 per cent in March.

In volume terms, retail sales fell 1.0 per cent in March.

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