Canada spending growth sluggish in November, Mastercard says

Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:26pm EST

* MasterCard says retail sales up 1.3 pct year over year

* Black Friday, Cyber Monday "a very young phenomenon"

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Canada's holiday shopping season got off to a slow start in November with retail sales rising only 1.3 percent from the previous year, compared with 4.2 percent growth a year earlier, according to data released by MasterCard on Thursday.

Still, the shopping season was still young in November. MasterCard Advisors, the payment company's research and consulting division, found that in recent years, holiday shopping peaks from Dec. 20 to Dec. 22.

"Many Canadians may have gotten an early start with Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, but it's still a very young phenomenon in Canada," Senior Vice-President Richard McLaughlin, said in a release.

The Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving is the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season south of the border, and in recent years retailers have imported Black Friday sales to Canada.

Some also promote online sales the following Monday.

Canada's online retail sales continued to grow in November, increasing 26.4 percent.

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