Alberta shoppers are generally familiar with the role retailers play in the economy—at the mall, for example, or in the grocery store. But long before any of the merchandise makes its way onto store shelves, the wholesaler’s role plays out behind the scenes.
In the last 12 months ending January 2013, wholesalers in Alberta sold a total of $75.6 billion in goods to retailers. It’s a bit tricky to know precisely where all of the merchandise ends up, since wholesalers in our province are often the suppliers for out-of-province retailers (just as Alberta
retailers could procure its merchandise from wholesalers elsewhere, too).
Accounting for almost a third of the province’s wholesale activity is machinery and equipment dealers. Much of this, no doubt, feeds into the province’s massive oil and gas industry. But a lot of it would also supply construction companies, equipment rental and sales companies and heavy equipment operators. Another 19 per cent is building materials and supplies, which also feeds
into the construction and oil and gas sectors.
Combined, these two categories of wholesale activity make up more than half of the provincial total.
But products related to the individual consumer also play a big role for wholesalers. Over a fifth (21 per cent) of sales are made by food, beverage and tobacco wholesalers, which service most of the
province’s grocery retailers. Another nine per cent and seven per cent are motor vehicles and parts and personal and household goods, respectively.*
*Courtesy of Todd Hirsch, Senior Economist, ATB Financial