Business

Retail sales rise 2.2% to $46 billion in January

Retail sales increased by 2.2 per cent to $46 billion in January led by broad-based gains in every province and almost every type of store.
Retail sales rose at almost all types of stores in January. (Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

Retail sales increased by 2.2 per cent to $46 billion in January led by broad-based gains in every province and almost every type of store.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers led the way with gains of  3.8 per cent. Sales at health and personal care stores increased 6 per cent, and general merchandise sales were up by 1.8 per cent.

"This was a good report all around," TD Bank economist Dina Ignjatovic said. "Consumers will remain a key driver of economic activity this year."

The only type of store to see lower sales were sporting goods, hobby, books and music stores, where sales fell 0.1 per cent.

All in all, the numbers beat what economists had been expecting.

"After a strong end to 2016, it appears as though the economy is off to a good start in 2017," Benjamin Reitzes said. "It's going to be awfully hard for the Bank of Canada to look through this better performance."