Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.9% to $50.4 billion in November.
The data is the latest sign of weakness in the Canadian economy after the agency reported Tuesday that both wholesale and manufacturing sales also fell in November.
Economists had expected a retail sales drop of 0.6%, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.
Statistics Canada says the move lower came as sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers dropped.
Excluding these two subsectors, retail sales increased 0.2%.
Overall, sales were down in six of 11 subsectors, representing 75% of retail trade.
Retail sales in volume terms fell 0.4%.
Royce Mendes, director and senior economist at CIBC World Markets, said in a research note that cautious consumers pose another challenge for the economy.
After Tuesday’s manufacturing and wholesale numbers, Mendes said CIBC is now tracking a decline in GDP for November and has lowered its Q4 forecast to 1% growth.
“Households were in no mood to spend the gains from increasing job totals nor the savings from falling gasoline prices during the month of November,” he said.
“While the latter will be temporary, slower growth in consumption has been one of the main reasons we don’t see the Bank of Canada as being able to raise rates much higher than current levels.”