Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited announced that holiday sales exceeded expectations during the key December selling season, including double-digit sales growth in automotive and several other core retail categories. Commenting on the holiday period, Wayne Sales, president and CEO, noted: “We enjoyed strong growth across all of our key holiday and basic goods categories, led by double-digit growth in hardware and home improvement, automotive tires and accessories, Christmas dcor and lighting. We achieved this sales growth without extensive discounting activity, enabling us to maintain the strength of our margins.” Sales added: “We finished with total sales growth of 5% in the month of December, in spite of softer sales in winter seasonal goods in Ontario and other pockets of the country due to a lack of snow and cold weather. By comparison, winter seasonal goods contributed almost all of the sales growth in the previous December and we would expect to pick up some of that growth in winter seasonal goods early in the first quarter of 2002.” Canadian Tire Retail surpassed the $5 billion in retail sales mark for the first time in its history in 2001. Canadian Tire’s online channel, www.canadiantire.ca, showed strong growth, with traffic up 70%, sales up 252% and average basket purchases up 11% in December compared to the same month last year. In October, www.canadiantire.ca became the most visited, Canadian-operated retail eCommerce site according to industry data, with more than 2 million visits. Traffic and sales increased in November and December consecutively, reinforcing the webstore’s key role as a vehicle for customers to access Canadian Tire both for product research and to buy products directly. All of Canadian Tire’s businesses performed strongly during 2001 and into the holiday period: – Canadian Tire Financial Services experienced double-digit growth in credit card sales and receivables during December, as a result of the expansion in the number of Options MasterCard accounts and strong retail sales. – PartSource, the specialty automotive chain focused on heavy do-it- yourself customers and the wholesale segment, has now opened a total of 30 retail stores and experienced double-digit growth on a comparable store basis in 2001 with sales in December surpassing that average. – Canadian Tire Petroleum, despite significant industry declines in retail gasoline prices, continued its strong performance, complemented by very healthy results in its propane, convenience, car wash and pit stop businesses.