Consumer spending sprang up in April
Alberta’s retail sector posted stronger growth on a year-to-date (YTD) basis than in Canada as a whole
By Siddhartha Bhattacharya, ATB Economics 22 June 2023 1 min read
After back-to-back declines, consumer spending in Alberta increased in April.
As per new Statistics Canada data, seasonally-adjusted retail sales in Alberta were up by $71.7 million (+0.9%) in April following declines of 1.1% in March and 2.3% in February.
After reaching a record high in January, revenues of motor vehicles and parts dealers—the largest sub-sector—continued to pull back in April, but remained higher than last year’s levels.
At 7.5%, Alberta’s retail sector posted stronger growth on a year-to-date (YTD) basis than the 3.5% for Canada as a whole, outpacing all provinces except P.E.I.
Alberta’s resilient stance compared to elsewhere in the country is also apparent when factoring in inflation. Real retail spending* rose 4.1% YTD in Alberta compared to an increase of 1.4% nationally over the same timeframe.
That said, things have definitely started to slow in Alberta after a strong performance earlier in the year as borrowing costs consume a rising share of household disposable incomes.
Retail store revenues have leveled off since January and were up by only 3.3% in April from the same point last year, the lowest year-over-year growth in fourteen months. It was a fairly similar trend nationally with Canada’s retail revenues posting the lowest year-over-year growth since January 2021.
Looking ahead, ATB’s consumer spending tracker suggests that most of the April gains will reverse in May, with the value of seasonally-adjusted transactions down by 0.6%.
*Due to the absence of provincial inflation-adjusted estimates, real retail spending in Alberta is calculated by deflating Alberta’s nominal retail revenues by their respective goods price indices in Alberta CPI. National real retail spending refers to Canada’s real retail sales (Statistics Canada Table 20-10-0067) using the Fisher method.
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