July shopping: higher, stronger, vaster!

Maybe it was the great weather, or maybe it was the inspiring athleticism of the London Olympics. Whatever it was, Albertans rallied with their own “Olympian” efforts in the shopping malls and car lots in July. 

Shoppers in this province racked up $5.732 billion in sales—up 1.4 per cent from $5.66 billion in June. The increase more than offset the drop from May to June, and now represents a new record high for spending in the province. Compared to July of last year, total sales are up 9.2 per cent (The figures are adjusted to take into account regularly occurring seasonal variations in spending).

Nationally, July retail sales rose 0.7 per cent over the previous month to $39.0 billion. Statistics Canada reports that gains were reported in 8 of 11 subsectors, representing almost three-quarters of total retail trade. Adjusted for a small amount of inflation, the volume of retail sales edged higher by 0.6 per cent. The higher sales in July will no doubt affect the national GDP number for the month, which is due out this Friday.

The rise in Alberta’s retail activity in July is encouraging and shows that there’s still plenty of consumer confidence out there. Still, the rate of increase has cooled. Since October, sales are higher by only 2.5 per cent. On balance, the moderation in the provincial economy is good news and is consistent with other indicators that suggest Alberta is in healthy shape—and not overheating.

Todd Hirsch, Senior Economist, ATB Financial September 25, 2012


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