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OTTAWA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales rose for the third month in a row in July, driven by increased purchases at new car dealers and clothing stores, data from Statistics Canada showed on Wednesday.
The 0.5 percent increase matched economists' forecasts, but sales excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers were flat. In volume terms, sales rose 0.2 percent.
The motor vehicle and parts subsector climbed 2.0 percent, boosted by a 2.7 percent increase in new car sales. The subsector has risen for six months in a row, with the gains largely due to higher sales of new trucks.
Sales at clothing and accessories stores rose 2.5 percent, the first increase in three months. Purchases at electronics and appliance stores edged down by 1.7 percent after a hefty 8.0 percent increase in June as new regulations limiting the duration of cellphone contracts came into effect.
The Canadian economy was in a mild recession in the first half of 2015 and the Bank of Canada has cut interest rates twice this year to offset the shock of cheaper oil prices. The bank forecasts growth will pick up in the second half of the year. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)