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Canadian retail sales limp into 2013


Canadian retail sales were up 2.9 per cent in January compared to the same month a year ago, according to new Statistics Canada data pushed up by a strong showing in the food and drug sector, up 5.2 per cent, which however is unlikely to last throughout the year.

In his report, retail consultant Ed Strapagiel wrote for the three months ending January 2013, total retail sales were actually down 0.03 per cent, or flat in other words. "Total Canadian retail sales were up just 2.4 per cent in 2012, the second lowest annual growth rate of the last 10 years. If current trends continue, 2013 could be an even weaker year."

Strapagiel noted that the food and drug sector had a modest rebound in the latest month, and retail sales were up 2.0 per cent year-over-year for the three months ending January 2013.

"Beer, wine and liquor stores had an unusually strong gain in January, and supermarkets and drug stores had an up-tick. Convenience stores' retail sales however continued to decline," he said.

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