Higher restaurant and bar sales in April
Alberta has seen a larger rebound from the pre-pandemic peak than other provinces
By Siddhartha Bhattacharya, ATB Economics 26 June 2023 1 min read
Revenues at Alberta restaurants and bars ticked up in April following two straight monthly declines.
Seasonally-adjusted receipts at Alberta’s food services and drinking places rose by 1.7% to $988 million in April, but remained 1.2% below the record level reached in January.
Albertans have returned to dining out following the end of all pandemic restrictions in early 2022.* Alberta’s revenues over the first four months of 2023 were up by 18.7% ($576 million) compared to the same period in 2022. Even accounting for rising restaurant prices, real sales** jumped an estimated 11.1% over this period.
The national monthly gain in April was smaller in April at 0.7% with eight out of ten provinces posting increases. Canadian revenues were up by 22.8% year-to date (YTD).
Alberta has seen a larger rebound from the pre-pandemic peak than other provinces. Inflation-adjusted revenues in April 2023 stood 3.6% higher in Alberta while they were up by only 1.3% nationally from February 2020 levels. At the low point of April 2020, real sales in Alberta were down by 57.3% from the pre-pandemic peak.
However, mirroring the retail spending trend seen in April, annual sales growth has started to slow for Alberta’s restaurants and bars.
Sales were up a solid 13.1% in April 2023 from the same month last year, the slowest year-over-year growth in eight months. Meanwhile, national year-over-year spending growth was at its lowest since February 2021.
*On March 1, 2022, Alberta entered Stage 2 of its reopening plan marking an end to almost all of its public health restrictions, with the exception of health care facilities.
**Deflated using the Alberta “Food Purchased from Restaurants” Consumer Price Index, seasonally adjusted.
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