Canada Retail Sales Decelerate in November

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Canadian retail sales slowed in November from the previous month on a decline in activity at new-car dealerships.

The value of retail sales in November rose 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis to 50.06 billion Canadian dollars ($40.56 billion), Statistics Canada said Thursday, following a 1.6% gain in the previous month. The increase was well below market expectations for a 0.8% gain, according to economists at Royal Bank of Canada.

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On a year-over-year basis, retail sales climbed 6.5%.

On a priced-adjusted, or volume, basis, retail sales increased 0.3% in November.

The data agency said higher sales at gasoline stations, electronics and appliance retailers, and general merchandise stores--which incorporate department stores--offset a 5.3% drop in receipts at new car dealers. Excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales rose a healthy 1.6% to C$37 billion.

"Autos applied the brakes, but stripping out that category reveals an extremely strong month for underlying retail activity," said Nick Exarhos, economist at CIBC World Markets.

Earlier Thursday, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz told attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the central bank is "feeling our way" when it comes to how Canadian consumers are responding to recent interest-rate increases. He said the record level of consumer debt among Canadians means households are more sensitive to rate rises in the current environment than in the past. He also noted there has been a modest slowdown in borrowing.

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 25, 2018 09:14 ET (14:14 GMT)

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