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A motorist fills up at a Toronto gas station.

Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Canadian retail sales rebounded by 0.5 per cent in August from July, pushed up by higher sales at gas stations and auto dealerships, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

The increase was greater than the 0.3-per-cent advance predicted by analysts. Statscan revised July's drop to 0.5 per cent from an initial 0.6 per cent fall.

The strong data will reinforce market expectations of a return to growth in the third quarter after a 0.4-per-cent decline in second quarter GDP on an annualized basis.

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Gas stations recorded a 1.9-per-cent increase in August, more than offsetting declines in June and July. Sales at motor vehicles and parts dealers increased by 1.0 per cent.

Sales were higher in six of 11 subsectors, accounting for 70 per cent of the total, and in volume terms sales rose by 0.3 per cent.

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