By Paul Vieira

OTTAWA--Canadian retail sales increased in March due to strong demand for new and used cars. Excluding auto-related sales, retail receipts fell in the month.

The value of retail sales in March rose 0.7% on a seasonally-adjusted basis to 48.29 billion Canadian dollars ($35.48 billion), Statistics Canada said Friday. Market expectations were for a 0.3% gain, according to economists at Royal Bank of Canada.

In volume terms -- or when the effects of price changes are removed -- total retail sales rose 1.2% in March. Analysts look at volumes to get a more accurate reading on economic activity.

On a year-over-year basis, nominal retail sales rose 6.9%.

Excluding the auto component, retail sales fell 0.2% to C$35.26 billion in March, as declines at grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and clothing retailers weighed on results.

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 19, 2017 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)

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