Image of smiling young lady standing in supermarket shop near cashier's desk holding credit card. Looking aside.

Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 1.8% to $57 billion in December as the spread of the Omicron variant and severe flooding in British Columbia and the Atlantic provinces disrupted transportation, retail operations and sales.

The agency says sales were down in eight of 11 subsectors, representing 62.9% of retail trade.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores were down 9.5% while furniture and home furnishings stores recorded an 11.3% drop in sales.

Statistics Canada says core retail sales – which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers – decreased 2.4%.

In volume terms, retail sales were down 2.5% in December.

Statistics Canada says its preliminary estimate for January pointed to an increase in retail sales of 2.4 % for the month, but it cautioned the figure would be revised.