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Albertan's summer spending near record levels

Albertan's summer spending near record levels

Posted on: 10/19/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

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Spending at shopping malls and gas stations stayed near record levels in August, continuing to hover around the $7 billion mark. Retail sales were virtually unchanged between July and August and spending was only 1.2 per cent off the record high achieved in May of this year. Total sales were 2.5 per cent higher compared to the previous 12 months.

Although consumers continue to spend their paycheques at near record levels, they may actually be buying less. Price inflation is on the rise in Alberta. The price of goods in August, for example, was 3.1 per cent higher than a year ago.

Even with higher sales, some retailers may still not be performing well due to higher wage costs and a lower Canadian dollar. They’ve had to offset these higher costs by making the goods they sell more expensive. This is one reason why the province’s inflation rate is higher.

Despite rising prices, Alberta’s mall parking lots remain busier than in years past. As wages push higher and jobs are added to Alberta’s economy, retail sales will have the fuel required to stay the course.

Retail sales, graph

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