Canadian retail sales fell by 0.6 per cent in July after three consecutive gains, dragged down by weaker sales at new car dealerships, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
The decline was steeper than the 0.3-per-cent drop analysts had expected. Statscan revised June’s advance to 0.8 per cent from the previously reported 0.7 per cent gain.
Sales totalled $37.5-billion, still above the pre-recession peak in late 2008.
Sales at new car dealerships fell 3.5 per cent. Used car sales fell 2 per cent while sales of auto parts, accessories and tires slipped 0.4 per cent, together offsetting a 2.3-per-cent increase in recreational vehicles.
Sales at gasoline stations, which were down in June for the second time in 12 months, remained unchanged in July.
Retail sales excluding motor vehicles were flat for the second consecutive month versus market expectations for a 0.2-per-cent increase.
Sales were down in seven of 11 sectors, accounting for 56 per cent of the total, and in volume terms sales were off by 0.9 per cent.
In the 12 months to July, sales were up by 3.9 per cent compared with 4.6 per cent in June.