Retail sales of vehicle and auto parts combined to fall one per cent in April despite the fact total Canadian retail sales rose more than expected during the month, Statistics Canada said Thursday.
The government data usually lags about two months.
The decline in the auto sector came as consumers bought fewer new cars in April, following a solid increase in March. Canadian new-vehicle sales by volume were down 1.6 per cent in April, according to the Automotive News Data Center in Detroit.
Excluding the auto sector, total retail sales rose 1.5 per cent as consumers spent on smaller items instead, including home appliances and garden supplies.
Sales rose 2.1 per cent at general merchandise stores, which include big-box and department stores. Sales at gasoline stations rose 1.7 per cent, the seventh increase in nine months as Canadians paid higher prices at the pump.