Retails sales increased 0.4% in July, the first advance in three months, as consumers spent more on new cars, Statistics Canada said Friday from Ottawa. The gain trailed economist expectations for a 0.6% increase. Excluding motor vehicles and gasoline, retail sales fell 0.1% on the month.
The report falls short of economist expectations for a larger rebound and may suggest higher debt servicing costs are hindering consumer consumption. Debt service costs reached a record in the second quarter, leaving consumers with less money in their wallets to spend on other goods.