After two record-setting months of shopping over the summer, you’d think Albertans would be ready to lay off the retail therapy for a bit. That didn’t happen. In fact, shoppers ramped up the spending even more. Retail sales in the province totalled just over $5.88 billion in September, up 1.6 per cent from the previous month. Over the first nine months of 2012, retail activity is 8.9 per cent higher than the same period last year.
The figures presented in the chart below are adjusted for seasonality, so any of the normal fluctuations in spending stemming from events like back-to-school shopping are taken into account.
Canadians in other provinces also picked up the pace of their shopping, spending $39.1 billion (up 0.1 per cent from August). But nothing compares to shoppers in this province. Retail sales per person in Alberta totalled $1,519—more than 35 per cent more than the Canadian average of $1,122 per person.
The jump in Alberta’s retail activity in September is driven by the very strong labour market in the
province. With a very low unemployment rate and the highest wages in the country, Albertans are
confident and enthusiastic shoppers. A growing population is also an important factor in rising retail
Because shoppers are so willing to open their wallets like this, it is little wonder that some of the
big U.S. retailers are moving aggressively into Alberta’s market. That trend is likely to pick up
even more in 2013.*
*Courtesty of Todd Hirsch, Senior Economist, ATB Financial