Alberta retailers lost ground in August
Alberta was the only province with retail sales in August below where they were 12 months earlier
By ATB Economics 22 October 2020 1 min read
After three months of growth, seasonally adjusted retail sales in Alberta fell by 1.6 per cent ($111.1 million) in August. Sales were down by 0.6 per cent ($39.7 million) compared to the previous August.
Nationally, sales edged up by 0.4 per cent ($192.1 million) with year-over-year sales up by 3.5 per cent ($1.8 billion).
Alberta was the only province with retail sales in August below where they were 12 months earlier.
Sales in the province over the first eight months of the year were 6.4 per cent lower than over the same period last year, leaving a $3.4 billion hole to fill.
Nationally, the hole is $20.1 billion with year-to-date sales off by 5.0 per cent.
In percentage terms, clothing stores have the most ground to make up with year-to-date sales in August down by 34.1 per cent ($911.8 million) followed by sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales which were down by 21.2 per cent ($223.4 million).
In absolute terms, sales in the motor vehicle and parts dealers sub-sector were down the most at $2.4 billion (15.2 per cent) followed by gas station sales which were down by $1.1 billion (17.5 per cent).
Five sub-sectors were ahead of where they were last year: cannabis stores (up 149.7 per cent - this is not a typo); food and beverage stores (7.8 per cent); building material and garden equipment stores (7.1 per cent); general merchandise stores (5.0 per cent); and electronics and appliance stores (0.05 per cent).
With the virus still in play and unemployment remaining high, the outlook for retail sales growth over the last four months of the year is weak.