I posted earlier previews of the Canadian retail sales data for December, which is due at 1330 GMT on Thursday 22 February 2018:

Survey has:

  • median consensus expected is 0.0% change on the m/m (i.e flat) while prior was +0.2%

And, for excluding autos:

  • expected 0.3% y/y, prior +1.6%

These now (bolding mine) via BMO:

Retail sales are expected to drop 0.5% in December, breaking a three-month winning streak, as auto sales likely pulled back in the month.

  • Adding to the softness is an anticipated decline in underlying sales. Increased activity on Black Friday has pulled sales into November in recent years, and 2017 was likely no different.
  • The ubiquity of gift cards also serves to push sales into January, acting as another headwind on December.

Gasoline prices rose in the month on a seasonally adjusted basis. We look for sales ex. autos to drop 0.4%, while sales ex. autos & gas are expected to fall 0.5%.

There's likely downside risk to these figures as December has seen even sharper declines in the prior two years. And, with goods prices rising in the month, volumes could fall heavily.


  • November sales have been chewing into holiday shopping that used to take place in December, something seasonal adjustment hasn't yet fully accounted for yet.
  • As a result, look for a soft retail print ...
  • Core sales (ex-autos and gas) should slip by close to half a percent, with only some of that weakness being offset by firmer gasoline prices. As a result look for the ex-autos figure to come in at -0.3%. The unit data we have on autos don't readily translate into dollar sales values, but sales there appear to have softened as well.
  • Headline retail should slip by 1%.