OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says retail sales headed higher in September rising 0.8 per cent to $42.8 billion.
Economists had expected a gain of 0.5 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
The federal agency says the increase was largely as a result of higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. Without those, sales were unchanged from August.
The sale of light trucks helped drive a 3.3 per cent increase in sales at new car dealers, while dealers of recreational vehicles, motorcycles and boats saw a 6.8 per cent increase.
Sales were also up at food and beverage, home furnishing and electronics and appliance stores.
Provincially, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec accounted for most of the increase as eight provinces posted increases. Nova Scotia reported flat sales, while Prince Edward Island fell 1.1 per cent.