August 22, 2014 9:34 am

Retail sales surge to record high as consumers shake chilly spring

Lawn care sales helped fuel a sharp rise in general merchandise sales in June, Statscan said.

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Consumer spending hit a new record in June, Statistics Canada said Friday, rising 1.1 per cent as shoppers spent more on general merchandise.

The rise surged past expectations held by economists, who were expected a more modest 0.3 per cent growth in retail sales.

In all, consumers spent $42.6 billion, registering the sixth consecutive month of higher retail spending.

General merchandise stores saw sales rise the most of any “subsector” in June, up 3.9 per cent, Statscan said.

“The growth in June came mainly from sales of lawn and garden products, which were sold later this spring as a result of colder and wetter weather in April and May,” the federal agency said.

Retail sales were up in 8 of 11 subsectors, and higher by 4.7 per cent overall in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2013.

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