Retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in August to $34.5 billion, offsetting July's decline.
Statistics Canada reports the bulk of the increase came from higher sales at gasoline stations and new car dealers, without which sales were flat.
Overall, August sales were 3.7 per cent lower than a year earlier.
Retail sales increased 0.4 per cent by volume in August.
The largest increase came in the automotive sector, which rose 2.4 per cent, with gasoline stations leading the way at 3.9.
Retail sales rose in eight provinces, with New Brunswick posting the largest increase at 3.2 per cent.
Sales in the building and outdoor home supplies store sector were up 0.5 per cent.
Sales declined 0.4 per cent at general merchandise stores and 0.2 at miscellaneous retailers.
Sales declined 0.9 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador and 0.2 in Alberta.