Statistics Canada reports wholesale sales rose 1.8 per cent to $65.2 billion in January, boosted by the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories and the miscellaneous subsectors.
Economists had expected a decline of 0.1 per cent for the month, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
The January results come ahead of what is expected to be a sharp downturn in the economy due steps taken to slow the spread in COVID-19.
Statistics Canada says sales in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts subsector grew 3.0 per cent to $11.3 billion in January.
Meanwhile, the miscellaneous subsector climbed 3.1 per cent to $8.4 billion, boosted by the agricultural supplies industry which increased 10.5 per cent.
In volume terms, wholesale sales grew 1.7 per cent in January.
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