The sound of cash registers ringing and debit cards tapping in November was a positive sign for the Alberta economy, with monthly retail sales in the province increasing by 1.9 per cent (sales figures are adjusted to smooth-out seasonal variations in spending). This increase, while welcome, comes after five months of flat or decreasing sales.
Year-over-year growth is positive but modest, at 0.5 per cent. Retail sales peaked at $6.97 billion in May 2018 compared to $6.78 billion in November.
When we take into account population growth, we see that retail sales are still somewhat below where they were in 2014, before the recession took hold. Per capita sales peaked in September 2014 at $1,639 compared to $1,567 in November 2018.
Per capita retails sales in Alberta are 15 per cent higher than the provincial average and the highest of any province. So, while the increase in sales in November is a welcome development for retailers and the economy, per capita sales still have not snapped back to pre-recession levels.
Posted: January 23, 2019 in Economy & Government