Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.6 per cent to $47.8 billion in February due in large part to lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations.
Economists had expected a decline of 0.1 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
The move lower in February followed a whopping 2.3 per cent increase in January.
Statistics Canada says sales were down in five of 11 subsectors, representing 67 per cent of total retail sales. In volume terms, retail sales edged down 0.1 per cent.
Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 1.8 per cent, the first move down in seven months, while sales at gasoline stations fell 3.6 per cent due in large part to lower prices.
Excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations, retail sales were up 0.5 per cent.