OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says retail sales slipped 0.5 per cent in April to $38.9 billion, more than offsetting the gain in March.

It says lower sales were reported in eight of 11 subsectors, representing 78 per cent of retail sales.

In volume terms, retail sales were down 0.8 per cent, the third decline in four months.

The agency says lower sales in certain store types in April largely reflected the fact that warm weather in March pushed people to make spring purchases early.

The federal agency says sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 1.2 per cent in April, with both new and used car dealers reporting declines.

Meanwhile, sales were down 2.8 per cent at clothing and clothing accessories stores following six straight monthly gains.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Bloomingdale's

    The iconic American upscale retailer is in talks with Hudson's Bay Company to become a "store within a store" at HBC locations in Canada. The move is seen as an attempt by The Bay to fight off the possible arrival of Nordstrom's (see next slide).

  • Nordstrom

    One of the most prominent competitors to Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom announced in September, 2012, that it plans to open locations in Cadillac Fairview-owned malls in Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver. The stores will open in former Sears locations.

  • Marshalls

    Discount retailer Marshalls entered the Canadian market in March, 2011, and recently announced an expansion of six new stores in Ontario. At least a dozen of its 750 stores are now located in Canada.

  • Lowe's

    The home improvement retailer began moving into the Canadian market in 2007, with a store in Hamilton, Ontario. It has since expanded to 31 locations in Ontario and Alberta.

  • J. Crew

    Ritzy fashion chain J. Crew opened its first Canadian location in the summer of 2011, and immediately ran into public anger about the U.S.-Canada price gap. Shoppers complained that J. Crew's Canadian prices were about 15 per cent higher than in the U.S.

  • Target

    The arrival of Target to Canada in 2013 is easily the most hotly-anticipated retail arrival since Walmart came north of the border in 1994. The discount retailer is planning more than 100 stores across the country, having taken over a significant number of Zellers locations. But the store is currently engaged in a labour dispute, as it tries to keep former Zellers employees from unionizing in the new stores.