Statistics Canada says wholesale sales fell 0.5% to $63 billion in December, the first decrease in three months. Economists had expected an increase of 0.4%, according to Thomson Reuters.
Sales fell in five of the seven subsectors tracked, representing 65% of total wholesale sales.
Statistics Canada says the personal and household goods subsector saw the largest decline in dollar terms for the month as it fell 3.3% to $8.5 billion.
Sales in the miscellaneous subsector fell 2.4% to $7.9 billion.
Meanwhile, machinery, equipment and supplies sales grew 2.3% to $12.7 billion, while the building material and supplies group increased 2.7% to $9.3 billion.
“December [was] off to a rough start indeed, with wholesale trade figures following manufacturing data released last week that printed in the red,” said Nick Exarhos of CIBC Capital Markets in a note. “All told, another negative for December GDP, and another reason we see growth coming in under 2% in Q4, and the Bank of Canada staying on hold until the summer.”