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May retail sales weaker than expected

Tags: Retail
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Canadian retail sales grew by a weaker-than-expected 0.3 percent in May, not enough to make up for the previous month's decline in further proof of lackluster growth in the second quarter, according to Statistics Canada data on Tuesday.

A drop in auto and gasoline sales offset robust sales in supermarkets, general merchandise and clothing stores, the agency said. Six of the 11 subsectors reported gains in the month, representing 53 percent of total retail trade.

In volume terms, retail sales rose 0.7 percent.

Statscan revised the April retail sales figure to a decline of 0.6 percent from a 0.5 percent drop previously. Sales have see-sawed for the past six months, leaving the total sales in May at $38.9 billion, the same as in November 2011.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast, on average, a 0.5 percent rise in May retail sales.

Statscan said sales excluding the auto sector rose 0.5 percent while analysts had predicted no change.

The Bank of Canada this month downgraded its near-term economic growth forecasts and said consumer spending would be weaker than it had previously anticipated, although it would continue to be a key driver of growth.

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