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Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 2.5 per cent to $61.3 billion in July, the first drop in seven months as sales at gasoline stations and clothing and clothing accessories stores decreased.
However, the agency says its initial estimate for August pointed to a gain of 0.4 per cent for the month, but noted the figure will be revised.
Statistics Canada says the July sales were down in nine of the 11 subsectors it tracks, representing 94.5 per cent of retail trade.
Sales at gasoline stations fell 14.2 per cent for the month as gasoline prices fell 9.2 per cent and sales at gasoline stations in volume terms decreased 7.0 per cent. Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores dropped 3.3 per cent.
Core retail sales — which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers — fell 0.9 per cent.
In volume terms, retail sales fell 2.0 per cent in July.