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The outlook for retail sales in Alberta

The outlook for retail sales in Alberta

Posted on: 4/22/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Retail sales growth is expected to be weak in 2019. We only have two months of data in hand, but Alberta is already off the pace set last year.

Average monthly sales in 2018 were $6.83 billion but averaged just $6.72 billion in January and February of 2019. (Sales figures are adjusted to smooth out seasonal variations.)

After falling by 1.9 per cent to start the year, monthly retail sales in Alberta edged up by 0.9 per cent in February to $6.75 billion. However, year-over-year sales were down by 0.1 per cent.

Adjusted for inflation, annual retail sales in Alberta in 2018 were down 0.3 per cent from the previous year. Sales in 2018 were still 2.6 per cent—or about $2.21 billion—below the peak reached in 2014.

Personal consumption is a key driver of Alberta’s economy, but consumer confidence has been shaken. This is likely the result of the high unemployment rate, concern over household debt levels and the uncertainty that continues to swirl around the future of new pipelines.​

Inflation-adjusted retail sales in AB​​​

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