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Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


Alberta retail sales reach record level

Monday, August 25, 2014 > 09:22:41

(Calgary Herald)

Alberta retail sales reached a record level in June as the province had the highest annual growth rate in the country among all provinces, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal agency reported Friday that retail sales in Alberta of $6.6 billion were up 8.8 per cent year-over-year

“The record sales in June is yet another indication of Alberta’s solid economic performance. The strong income and employment opportunities are fueling consumer confidence, which has sparked record spending,” said Todd Hirsch, chief economist with ATB Financial.

Statistics Canada also said a 1.7 per cent monthly advance in Alberta “was largely attributable to higher sales at new car dealers and other general merchandise stores.”

Nationally, retail sales rose for the sixth consecutive month, up 1.1 per cent to $42.6 billion in June. Gains were reported in eight of 11 subsectors, representing 71 per cent of retail trade, said Statistics Canada.

In the first six months of 2014, retail sales were up 4.7 per cent compared with the same period in 2013.

“The largest sales increase in dollar terms across all subsectors was a 3.9 per cent gain at general merchandise stores. The growth in June came mainly from sales of lawn and garden products, which were sold later this spring as a result of colder and wetter weather in April and May. Both store types within the subsector, other general merchandise stores (5.2 per cent) and department stores (2.1 per cent), reported stronger sales.

“Sales at food and beverage stores rose 1.3 per cent. Supermarkets and other grocery store sales increased 1.3 per cent following a decline in May. Beer, wine and liquor store sales increased 2.0 per cent. The gain coincided with the early rounds of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the latter half of June.”

Doug Porter, chief economist with BMO Capital Markets, said more normal weather provided a big boost for Canadian retail sales after a colder and wetter April and May.

“The underlying strength in consumer spending is impressive, and adds to the view that growth made a nice recovery in the spring and early summer after the sluggish start to the year,” he said.

Leslie Preston, economist with TD Economics, said annual retal sales growth in Canada is the fastest pace since the end of 2010.

“June’s solid result for retail sales rounds out our picture for what has been a very strong quarter for consumer spending in (the second quarter),” said Preston. “Real consumer spending looks to have advanced by a very healthy five per cent pace in (the second quarter). The strong result in June, also provides decent momentum heading into the third quarter.

“Now to dump an ice bucket on all of this optimism, a great deal of the strength in (the second quarter) represented a bounce back from the depressed retail sales level in (the first quarter) due to a particularly bad winter beset with ice storms and blackouts. In fact, the pace of real retail sales growth for the first half of the year was only half the clip of the second half of 2013.”

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