OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.8 per cent in December to $49.6 billion as gains in new car sales were more than offset by lower sales at electronics and appliance stores and general merchandise retailers.
Sales at general merchandise stores fell 5.3 per cent in December, while health and personal care stores dropped 3.8 per cent.
Electronics and appliance stores were down 9.1 per cent in the month following a 12.7 per cent increase in November when sales were boosted by Black Friday sales and new product releases.
Meanwhile, motor vehicle and parts dealers posted a 2.1 per cent increase in December, boosted by a 2.9 per cent increase at new car dealers.
Excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales dropped 1.8 per cent.
Economists had expected an overall increase of 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent, excluding autos, according to Thomson Reuters.