Canadian retail sales fell by the most in seven months in November on lower gasoline prices and automobile purchases.

Receipts fell 0.9 per cent from October, Statistics Canada said Wednesday from Ottawa, more than the 0.6 per cent fall estimated in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Sales fell by 1.8 per cent at motor vehicle and parts dealers and 5 per cent at gasoline stations, and excluding those stores there was a gain of 0.2 per cent.

The report is the first major setback in consumer spending after sales reached a plateau in the spring, and economists predict household consumption growth will slip below 2 per cent this year for the first time since 2012. Other reports suggest the economy slowed in November, with the agency reporting declines in manufacturing and wholesaling on Tuesday.

The November figures showed some evidence that rising interest rates are crimping consumer spending related to big- ticket items like houses and cars that had powered the economy for most of the last decade. While electronics and appliance purchases rose 3.3 per cent, they fell 0.4 per cent at furniture stores and by 0.3 per cent in the larger building material and garden equipment category.

Sales rose just 0.5 per cent over the last 12 months, the slowest advance since 2012. That included declines in electronics, furniture and building material stores.

Other Highlights

  • Sales fell in six of 11 categories that make up 75 per cent of retail trade in November
  • The volume of sales fell 0.4 per cent. That measure excludes the effects of price changes and more closely reflects the industry’s contribution to economic growth
  • Statistics Canada also revised down estimates of the prior three months of retail sales, which made October the only month in that period where they increased
  • Sales at cannabis stores were US$54 million in November, up from US$43 million in the first two weeks after the drug was legalized on Oct. 17