Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 3.2 per cent to $58.9 billion in January, helped by higher sales at new car dealers to start the year.
However, the agency says its early estimate for February suggests retail sales fell 0.5 per cent for that month, though it cautioned the figure will be revised.
The rise in sales in January came despite public health restrictions in several parts of the country to deal with the Omicron surge in COVID-19 cases.
Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers led the way higher as they climbed 5.3 per cent helped by a 5.5 per cent increase at new car dealers and a 9.7 per cent rise at used car dealers.
Excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations, retail sales rose 2.9 per cent.
In volume terms, overall retail sales rose 2.9 per cent in January.