Retail sales in Alberta grow for the second year in a row

National retail e-commerce, including sales from store and non-store retailers, rose 14.7% to $18 billion in 2018: StatsCan

Retail sales in Alberta remained relatively flat in December compared to November at just under $6.8 billion, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal agency reported on Friday that sales, however, rose by 1.5 per cent year over year.

“Canadian store retailers generated sales of $605 billion in 2018, up 2.7 per cent from 2017. The increase was largely attributable to higher prices, as sales in volume terms were up 0.7 per cent. Provincially, retail sales were up in eight provinces, with Ontario (+3.9 per cent) leading the way. Following declines in 2015 and 2016, retail sales in Alberta (+1.7 per cent) rose for the second year in a row,” it said.

“After a record-setting year in 2017, when over two million new motor vehicles were sold, unit sales of new motor vehicles were down 2.0 per cent in 2018. The decrease in units came from lower sales of passenger cars (-10.6 per cent), which more than offset higher sales of trucks (+1.9 per cent).Receipts at food and beverage stores rose 1.9 per cent, with gains reported in every province in 2018.”

StatsCan said retail sales at cannabis stores totalled $151.5 million in the fourth quarter after that became legal in October.

“Retail e-commerce, including sales from both store and non-store retailers, rose 14.7 per cent to $18.0 billion in 2018. Retail e-commerce represented 2.9 per cent of total retail sales, compared with 2.6 per cent in 2017. During the November and December holiday shopping season, retail e-commerce accounted for 3.9 per cent of total retail sales, up from 3.5 per cent in 2017, in part due to strong retail e-commerce sales in November 2018. Approximately one-quarter of retail e-commerce sales took place during the 2018 holiday shopping season,” explained StatsCan.

On a national level, retail sales edged down 0.1 per cent to $50.4 billion in December. Lower sales at gasoline stations (-3.6 per cent) were partly offset by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (+1.0 per cent). Excluding gasoline stations, retail sales increased 0.4 per cent, said StatsCan.

“On an unadjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales were $2.0 billion in December, accounting for 3.7 per cent of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 4.6 per cent in December, while total unadjusted retail sales decreased 0.4 per cent,” added the federal agency.

– Mario Toneguzzi


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