UPDATE 1--Canada April retail sales drop as bad weather hits auto sales

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OTTAWA, June 22 (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales in April dropped by 1.2 percent, their biggest fall in more than two years, in part due to bad weather that hit sales of autos and gardening equipment, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

Economists in a Reuters poll had predicted no change from April. The decline was the biggest since the 1.3 percent drop recorded in March 2016.

Sales at motor vehicles and parts dealers fell by 4.3 percent as Ontario - Canada’s most populous province - experienced cooler than usual weather and freezing rain.

Dealers in of building material, garden equipment and supplies posted a 3.3 percent loss.

Sales were down in eight of 11 subsectors, representing 65 percent of retail trade. Stripping out the effects of prices changes, sales volume dropped by 1.4 percent.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum