Over the last few years, Albertans have been expressing confidence in the economy—and their expected incomes—by opening their wallets to spend, spend, spend. But rising retail spending can also be the result of a growing population and higher prices. The question is whether Alberta’s rising retail sales are due to more shoppers or simply confident shoppers spending more. Whatever the reason, Alberta is once again the national leader.
At 18.7 per cent, the increase in Alberta stands far above that of any other province, and is almost triple the 6.9 per cent national increase. While population growth (+8.2 per cent) and inflation (+5.0 per cent) explain about much of the increase in retail spending, about 5.5 per cent of the three-year increase is due simply to greater per capita spending. That gap is larger in Alberta than in any other province. In fact, other than Saskatchewan, B.C., and Newfoundland and Labrador, the difference in almost every province is negative—meaning that after adjusting for population and inflation, people in most other provinces are spending less. *
*Courtesy of Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, ATB Financial