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

Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.5% to $62.1 billion in December.

The federal agency’s preliminary estimate for January suggests Canadian consumers continued spending in the new year, with early figures indicating sales increased 0.7% last month.

Sales grew in seven of 11 subsectors in December, representing 75.1% of retail trade.

Statistics Canada says higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 3.8%, and general merchandise stores, up 1.7%, led the increase.

Overall core retail sales, which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers, were up 0.4% in December.

In volume terms, retail sales increased 1.3% in December.