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Restaurant and bar receipts continue to impress

Restaurant and bar receipts continue to impress

Posted on: 11/1/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

The latest restaurant receipts data show that during that month of August, Albertans spent $771 million at restaurants and bars across the province (seasonally adjusted). August’s total was more than $1 million higher than the previous record set the previous month.

For four months in a row, Alberta has reached continuous record highs. Since the previous record set in May 2016 (the month of Fort McMurray’s wildfire), receipts have grown by nearly $9 million. What’s most surprising is that receipts from bars and restaurants have grown to new heights even amid the tougher economic climate. Despite tougher labour market conditions and softer wages, many Albertans have continued to enjoy meals out.

What’s driving the recent increase in spending at restaurants? In large part, Alberta’s improving economy is the reason. A general stabilization in energy prices and steadier labour market conditions have resulted in driving consumer confidence in the economy. Over the last 12 months, Alberta’s economy has added more than 13,300 jobs and wages are also starting to improve after sliding for a couple of years. There is one concern, however. There’s no way to tell how much of these receipts are fueled by credit. Rising household indebtedness and rising interest rates may begin to weigh on restaurant receipts going forward.

Alberta restaurant and bar receipts, graph

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