Canada August Retail Sales Fall Most This Year on Gasoline Price

Canadian retail sales unexpectedly fell in August, declining for a second month as gasoline prices dropped.

Sales decreased 0.3 percent to C$42.4 billion ($37.8 billion), the largest drop this year, Statistics Canada said today from Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had forecast no change, the median of 20 responses.

The August reading follows a 0.1 percent decline in July, marking the first back-to-back losses in retail sales since 2012. Receipts fell in seven of 11 categories in August, accounting for 76 percent of total sales.

Gasoline stations led declines, with sales down 2.1 percent in August to C$5.38 billion. Among the three provinces with the highest total sales, Ontario and Alberta posted drops of 0.5 percent and Quebec retailers saw a decrease of 0.1 percent.

Sales by car and auto parts dealers fell 0.4 percent to C$10.1 billion, while purchases excluding motor vehicle and parts fell 0.3 percent to C$32.3 billion, the statistics agency said. Economists forecast they would gain 0.2 percent.

The volume of sales was down 0.1 percent, Statistics Canada said. That measure excludes the effects of price changes and more closely reflects the industry’s contribution to economic growth.

Sales were 4.4 percent higher in August than a year earlier, Statistics Canada said.

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