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Alberta to lead country in Christmas shopping growthFriday, November 21, 2014 > 08:23:26
Resource-rich Alberta will lead the country this year in spending growth over the Christmas period.
A report by Colliers International says holiday sales growth, not including automotive and gasoline, will be 5.34 per cent higher in the province this year, reaching $4.67 billion in December.
“Strong employment and wage gains in Canada’s Western provinces are key factors in elevating consumers’ available disposable income and confidence,” said the National Retail Report Canada. “These elements, coupled with overall population growth, have a positive impact on retail sales.
Colliers also forecasts that Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan will lead the pack overall in holiday sales growth.
The report forecast December retail sales across the country to increase by 4.6 per cent to $46.8 billion, the strongest December volume since 2011.
Colliers said Canadians are doing their holiday shopping earlier, influenced by U.S.-style Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales promotions. Canadian retailers, in an effort to protect their turf, are also offering aggressive discounts during this time, triggering an early start to holiday shopping, it said.
“No doubt, Canadian retailers have revised their marketing and pricing strategies in response to the U.S. Black Friday mega sales in an effort to keep Canadian dollars at home,” said David Bell, senior consultant, planning and retail consulting with Colliers International.
“However, the higher shopper volumes on both sides of the border are offset by deeper discounts, making the rise of November trend unsustainable over the long-term. So while November has closed the gap with December in terms of retail performance, December will remain the biggest retail month for the foreseeable future.”
The report also found that Edmonton, Halifax and Calgary remain the top three retail markets in Canada in terms of shopping centre supply per capita. Edmonton leads the country at 27.2 square feet per capita followed by Halifax at 25.32 and Calgary at 23.58. The national average is 18.97 square feet per capita.
“The race for space across the Calgary region in the ultracompetitive retail sector is proceeding at a steady pace,” said Michael Kehoe, an Alberta-based retail specialist with Fairfield Commercial Real Estate Inc. in Calgary. “Expansion-minded retailers are leasing space and building stores as shopping centre developers complete major projects and planning new ones.
“The Calgary market enjoys high employment levels, stable rental rates, and low retail vacancy as the region enjoys a robust development phase driven by consumer demand for new retail space.”
He said the city has just over 32 million square feet of retail space with a 2.75 per cent vacancy rate.
Kehoe said there are about 20 new large retail projects under construction or in the final planning stages that will add about 2.8 million square feet to the Calgary market.