Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.3% to $66.1 billion in July, helped by the strength of sales at supermarkets and grocery stores.
However, the agency says its early estimate for August suggests retail sales fell 0.3% for that month, though it cautioned the figure would be revised.
For July, Statistics Canada says sales at food and beverage retailers gained 1.3% as supermarkets and other grocery retailers, except convenience stores, rose 1.5% and beer, wine and liquor retailers added 1.3%. Sales at general merchandise retailers rose 1.8%.
Meanwhile, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 1.6%, the first decline in four months, as sales at new car dealers dropped 1.7% and used car dealers lost 3.1%. Core retail sales—which exclude gasoline stations and fuel vendors, and motor vehicle and parts dealers—gained 1.3% in July.
In volume terms, retail sales fell 0.2% in July.