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Canada’s Retail Sales Rose 0.8% In December

Canada’s retail sales rose 0.8% in December fueled by strong holiday shopping across the country.

In a preliminary estimate, Statistics Canada said that retail sales in December increased at their fastest pace since April 2023. A final tally for December will be released in February of this year.

December’s preliminary figure follows a 0.2% decline in November.

Sales fell in four of nine subsectors during November, while motor vehicle and parts dealers saw the largest increase, up for a third consecutive month.

Excluding automotive, retail sales fell 0.5% in November. That was greater than a 0.1% decline expected among economists and further evidence that Canada’s economy is slowing down.

Core retail sales, which exclude gas stations and car dealerships, were down 0.6% in November, led by lower sales at supermarkets and liquor stores.

Economists say that the November retail sales figure, combined with rising inflation and worse-than-expected job growth in December, make it likely that the Bank of Canada will hold its key interest rate at its current level of 5% when it next meets later this month.

Retail sales across Canada were down in five provinces during November. Quebec saw the largest decrease at 1.4%.