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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 continue to slide

Monday, November 23, 2015 > 10:29:43

(Calgary Herald)

Retail sales in Alberta continued to slide in September, falling 1.1 per cent from August to $6.3 billion, Statistics Canada reported Friday. Sales were off 5.6 per cent from a year ago, the biggest annual decline in the country.

“That sales are slowing in the province should come as no surprise. Indeed, given the challenging state of the economy and the number of layoffs that have hit the petroleum industry, the only surprise is that retail sales have not come under even more strain,” ATB Financial chief economist Todd Hirsch wrote in a commentary.

Alberta still leads all provinces in retail sales per capita at just over $1,500 in September, Hirsch said. The next closest province was Newfoundland and Labrador, where shoppers spent an average of $1,418 per person.

Hirsch said it’s expected retail sales Alberta will pull back even more in the months ahead.

“The situation in the energy sector has deteriorated since September with oil prices falling to around $40 per barrel. Not only could that spark an even greater level of layoffs in the oilpatch, it will shake consumer confidence even among those workers in the province whose jobs are probably not in jeopardy,” he said.

However, a BMO survey this week suggested Albertans expect to spend $2,255 over the Christmas holidays, up from $1,947 a year ago and about $700 more than the national average. The bank said Alberta respondents, on average, planned to spend $622 on gifts, $1,202 on travel, $354 on entertaining and $77 on decorations.

Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said British Columbia (+6 per cent) and Ontario (+3.4 per cent) produced the biggest September retail sales increases from a year ago. Alberta, Saskatchewan (-3.7 per cent), and Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.4 per cent) were the only provinces to record declines.

Statistics Canada sales nationally fell 0.5 per cent in September to $43.3 billion after four months of gains, due in part to cheaper gasoline prices across the country.

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