Statistics Canada reports retail sales virtually unchanged in December

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OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales were virtually unchanged at $51.6 billion in December.

The flat reading for the final month of the year followed growth of 1.1 per cent in November.

Economists on average had expected an increase of 0.1 per cent for December, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Sales were up in seven of 11 subsectors, representing 49 per cent of retail trade.

Statistics Canada says higher sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers in December, as well as food and beverage stores. However, the gains offset by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gas stations.

Retail sales for 2019 totalled $615 billion, up 1.6 per cent from 2018.