Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.4 per cent in July to $51.5-billion, the first increase in three months.
Economists had expected an increase of 0.6 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
Statistics Canada says sales were up in six of the 11 subsectors it tracks representing 71 per cent of retail trade.
Motor-vehicle and parts dealers reported sales climbed 1.5 per cent in July, boosted by higher sales at new-car dealers.
The miscellaneous store retailer category rose 1.7 per cent, boosted by a 14.3-per-cent increase at cannabis stores, where sales topped $100-million for the first time.
Building materials and garden equipment and supplies dealers saw sales fall 3.2 per cent.
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