Canada’s retail sales rose for a third month in July as families spent more on cars and less on decking out houses.
Receipts increased 0.5 percent to a record C$43.3 billion ($32.7 billion), Statistics Canada said Wednesday in Ottawa, following a June increase the agency revised lower to 0.4 percent, from 0.6 percent initially.
New car sales rose 2.7 percent to C$8.83 billion in July, the sixth-consecutive gain and the largest since September. Clothing was the other major contributor to the total sales increase, up 2.5 percent.
Job gains, cheaper gasoline, low interest rates and tax cuts are keeping retail sales humming along this year. Spending on big-ticket items like cars and houses is holding up, even as households take on record debt loads, and lower commodity prices threaten incomes in provinces such as Alberta and Newfoundland.
Excluding motor vehicles and parts, sales were little changed in July, compared with the median prediction in a Bloomberg survey for a 0.5 percent increase. Spending fell 1.7 percent at electronics and appliance outlets, 1.6 percent at home furnishing stores, and 0.7 percent at building material and garden supply dealers.
The volume of sales rose 0.2 percent in July. That measure excludes the effects of price changes and more closely reflects the industry’s contribution to economic growth.
Sales in July were 1.8 percent higher than a year earlier, Statistics Canada said.