Statistics Canada says retail sales edged down 0.1 per cent to $50.4 billion in December as sales at gasoline stations moved lower due in large part to lower prices at the pump.
Economists had expected a contraction of 0.3 per cent for the month, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.
Sales at gasoline stations fell 3.6 per cent in December, while sales at electronics and appliance stores decreased 4.0 per cent.
Excluding gasoline stations, retail sales increased 0.4 per cent.
Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 1.0 per cent, led by a 1.2 per cent increase at new car dealers.
Retail sales in volume terms increased 0.2 per cent.
The Canadian Press