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December 19, 2011
CALGARY, AB, Dec. 19, 2011/ Troy Media/ – Economists often keep close tabs on the level of retail spending in an economy to get an idea of how consumers are feeling, but in order to gauge how they are feeling about their future sales prospects, you have to look at retail sales’ closest cousin: wholesale trade.
Statistics Canada reported this morning that Alberta wholesale trade rose by 3.9 per cent to $6.4 billion in October, the sixth consecutive month of increase, and one of the largest monthly jumps since the economic downturn in 2008/09.
Nationally, wholesale sales inched higher by 0.9 per cent to $49.2 billion, with the growth concentrated in the western provinces. Removing the impact of price inflation, the volume of wholesale sales in Canada increased 0.5 per cent in October.
Even more impressive than Alberta’s monthly jump in October is the long-term improvement. Over the past 12 months, wholesale activity in Alberta is up 15.7 per cent compared to the previous 12 months. That is a faster pace of increase than retail trade in the province, which has grown by 6.8 per cent over the comparable 12-month period.
The fact that wholesale activity has expanded nearly twice as quickly as retail trade suggests that either shop owners had allowed their inventories to deplete to unsustainable lows, or that retailers were cranking up purchases in the fall ahead of the Christmas season. In either case, the strong wholesale trade figures point to a healthy consumer and business economy in Alberta.
| ATB Financial
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