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July 28, 2012
VANCOUVER, BC, Jul 28, 2012/ Troy Media/ – Retail sales in B.C. remained flat for a fourth consecutive month in May, pointing to a softening in consumer spending and reflective of a weak housing market, lower consumer confidence and general economic uncertainty.
Total retail sales volume reached a seasonally-adjusted $5.16 billion in May. While up 0.17 per cent from April, volumes remained largely unchanged since February. First quarter growth in Metro Vancouver retail volumes has shown recent signs of cresting, adding to the slowdown observed in the rest of the province.
Relative to same-period in 2011, year-to-date sales were up 5.2 per cent this year, led by a 6.7 per cent increase in Metro Vancouver, while the rest of the province gained by a more modest 3.9 per cent. Despite expanding employment and population, year-to-date growth is expected to decelerate over the remainder of the year.
At the retail sector level, sales growth in 2012 has been driven by clothing retailers (18.6 per cent) and motor vehicle and parts dealers (11.3 per cent). Meanwhile, housing-related spending has been weaker, with electronic and appliance retailers reporting 4.2 per cent lower retail volumes. Home furniture and furnishing stores reported 3.5 per cent higher sales, but levels remain low relative to mid-decade levels.
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