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Retail sales in Alberta see growth through 2018

Retail sales in Alberta see growth through 2018

Posted on: 2/25/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​Albertans spent $81.7 billion on retail purchases in 2018, an increase of 1.7 per cent over the previous year, or $1.4 billion. While it is a good sign for the economy that retail sales grew, breaking the numbers down by sub-sector shows that not all retailers saw the same benefits.

On the positive side, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers accounted for 28.4 per cent of all sales in 2018, even though the sub-sector saw a 1.6 per cent reduction in sales compared to 2017. Food stores were the next largest sub-sector, accounting for 13.9 per cent of total sales, an increase of 1.1 per cent over 2017.

Relatively strong gasoline prices earlier in 2018 pushed sales in the third largest retail sub-sector—gas stations—up by 12.5 per cent for an increase of $1.2 billion in 2018. The next largest increase was in building material and garden equipment and supplies (+5.8 per cent).

The largest drop in sales occurred among sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-7.8 per cent). Sales at wine, beer and liquor stores (3.3 per cent of all retail sales) also fell, by 2.7 per cent.

A new category of retail activity—cannabis stores—saw sales of $33 million between October and December 2018.

It is important to keep in mind, these figures do not take into account inflation or changes in operating costs.

Retail sales, graph​​​

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