OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales unexpectedly rose 0.2 percent in November from October to a record high of C$39.4 billion ($39.8 billion) as shoppers bought more new cars and electronics, according to Statistics Canada data on Tuesday.
Analysts in a Reuters survey had expected sales to remain flat in the month. Retail sales have risen for five consecutive months and were up 1.4 percent compared with a year earlier.
In volume terms, used to calculate gross domestic product growth for November which will be released on January 31, sales rose 0.8 percent.
Sales at motor vehicle dealers grew 1.8 percent, and electronics and appliance stores saw sales jump 8.9 percent. Apple released its iPad mini tablet computer in November.
But sales were up only in 4 of 11 subsectors representing 32 percent of total retail trade, Statscan said, and excluding the auto sector, they fell 0.3 percent in the month.
Consumer spending has been a key engine of economic growth in Canada since the 2008-09 recession but the Bank of Canada and other economists have predicted it will cool this year along with the housing market.
Reporting by Louise Egan and Alex Paterson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama