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OTTAWA, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales unexpectedly fell in June on weaker sales of food and alcohol, while fewer consumers shopped at general merchandise stores, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.
The 0.1 percent decline was well short of the 0.5 percent gain economists had forecast. As well, sales in May were revised down to show no change from an initially reported gain of 0.2 percent.
Sales were down in seven of the 11 subsectors in June, accounting for 54 percent of retail trade. In volume terms, which removes the effects of price changes, sales were down 0.3 percent.
Food and beverage stores helped lead the decline with a 1.5 percent decrease in purchases. Sales at beer, wine and liquor stores were down 4.7 percent, giving back some of the hefty 6.4 percent increase seen in May. Purchases at supermarkets and other grocery stores also fell.
General merchandise stores saw sales fall 1.5 percent, the second straight monthly decline.
Of the 790 businesses in Alberta surveyed by Statistics Canada, 4 percent said they had been affected by May's wildfires around Fort McMurray.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Paul Simao