Four out of seven sectors, representing 56 percent of total sales, reported increases, led by the food, beverage and tobacco sector, the report said. In that group, sales in August were up 2.3 percent to $9.5 billion.
Wholesale sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies sector rose 1.4 percent, the fourth increase in five months. Total sales for the sector weren't provided.
Among the decliners were the motor vehicle and parts sector, which dipped 0.7 percent and the personal and household goods sector, which was down 0.5 percent, StatsCan said.
There were some wide disparities in sales by province.
"Sales in Ontario, which account for close to 50 percent of total wholesale trade, advanced 0.9 percent, partially offsetting a decline in July," the agency said. "Sales in Ontario have increased six out of eight months since January 2012."
Saskatchewan reported the largest sales decrease of 6.2 percent, which the agency attributed to lower sales in the agricultural supplies industry.