Statistics Canada says retail sales rose for the fourth consecutive month in April, increasing 1.1 per cent to $41.6 billion.
The agency says gains were widespread as 10 of 11 subsectors, representing 98 per cent of retail trade, posted increases.
Economists had expected a gain of 0.6 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
The largest gain came in the motor vehicle and parts dealers subsector, where sales rose 2.4 per cent. Sales at new car dealers were up 3.2 per cent after flat sales in February and March.
Following a decline in March, sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores rose 1.5 per cent.
Retail sales were up in six provinces in April, with Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia accounting for most of the increase.