Autos lift Canada retail sales more than expected in August

A young customer checks out a Ferrari at a luxury car dealership in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this picture taken October 10, 2015. REUTERS/Julie Gordon

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales rose more than expected in August, climbing for the fourth month in a row as sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers increased, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

Retail sales rose by 0.5 percent, topping economists’ expectations for a gain of 0.1 percent. But excluding the autos and parts sector, sales were flat. In volume terms, total retail sales rose 0.7 percent.

Sales at new car dealers increased 1.7 percent as more new trucks were sold, particularly in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Used car purchases jumped by 5.5 percent. Overall sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 2.0 percent.

Other sectors saw sales improve, including furniture and food and beverage stores. That was offset by a 0.6 percent decrease at gasoline stations, where sales fell for the second month in a row.

Canada was in a mild recession in the first half of the year but growth is expected to have picked back up in the second half. The Bank of Canada on Wednesday painted a picture of an economy pulling out of its downturn.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Nick Zieminski