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October 23, 2012
CALGARY, AB, Oct. 23,2012/ Troy Media/ – Alberta consumers hit another new record high in August with retail spending of $5.76 billion – up 0.4 per cent month over month. Comparing the first eight months of 2012 with the same period last year, total sales are higher by nearly 9 per cent.
Even if you strip out the 2.5 per cent population growth and the small amount of price inflation in the province, the increase is still significant.
Nationally, retail sales also expanded in August with a 0.3 per cent monthly gain to $39.1 billion. This matched the expectations of a consensus of economists.
The slight increase in Alberta’s retail activity in August has to do with the very strong labour market in the province. The overall trend in Alberta’s job market remains very positive with a low unemployment rate (4.4 per cent) and rapidly growing wages (+6.1 per cent year over year). Confidence in the labour market is translating into confident and enthusiastic shoppers.
Still, going forward into the fall months it is reasonable to expect some modest pull-back in retail sales. There are only so many new vehicles, washing machines and new handbags to buy before you don’t need another one (well, okay, many would disagree with me about the handbags).