October 21, 2016 / 12:47 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Canada's retail sales fall in August on fewer car purchases

(Adds details from report)

OTTAWA, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian retail sales unexpectedly declined in August due to lower sales of new and used cars and a decline in purchases at general merchandise stores, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.

The 0.1 percent decline fell short of expectations for a gain of 0.3 percent, while volumes fell by 0.3 percent. July sales were revised down slightly to a decline of 0.2 percent from the previously reported 0.1 percent decrease.

The weak retail performance in the first two months of the third quarter could mean there is somewhat less buoyancy to the expected economic rebound. Analysts expect growth picked up in the third quarter after wildfires in Alberta caused a contraction in the second quarter.

Sales in seven of 11 sectors were down in August, accounting for 57 percent of retail trade. The decline was led by the motor vehicle and parts segment, which was down 0.5 percent on a decrease in sales at new and used car dealers.

Sales at general merchandise stores declined 0.9 percent, the third decline in four months. Clothing and accessories stores saw sales fall 0.5 percent. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bill Trott)

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