Alberta retail sales zero in on $7-billion mark in September

Increase was driven by higher sales at food and beverage stores, said StatsCan

Mario ToneguzziConsumers in Alberta appeared to be in a spending mood in September.

Data released on Friday by Statistics Canada showed that retail sales in the province reached just over $6.9 billion during the month, an increase of 0.5 per cent from August and up three per cent from a year ago.

The federal agency said sales in Alberta increased “on the strength of higher sales at food and beverage stores.”

Nationally, retail sales edged up 0.2 per cent to $50.9 billion in September following a relatively flat August.

“The gain was led by food and beverage stores and, to a lesser extent, general merchandise stores and motor vehicle and parts dealers. Sales were down at gasoline stations and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers. Excluding gasoline stations, retail sales rose 0.4 per cent,” said StatsCan.

“Sales were up in six of 11 subsectors, representing 75 per cent of retail trade. After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 0.5 per cent. Retail sales were up 0.9 per cent in the third quarter following a 1.1 per cent gain in the second quarter. In volume terms, retail sales increased 0.4 per cent in the third quarter.”

Statistics Canada said sales at food and beverage stores (+0.9 per cent) rose for the third time in four months across the country as higher sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+1.7 per cent) more than offset a decline at beer, wine, and liquor stores (-1.7 per cent), which posted their first decline after six consecutive monthly increases.

“Sales at gasoline stations (-1.1 per cent) were down for the third time in four months, partly reflecting lower prices. After removing the effects of price changes, sales at gasoline stations declined 0.3 per cent,” it said.

Retail e-commerce sales totalled $1.4 billion, representing 2.8 per cent of total retail trade in September. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce rose 16.9 per cent.


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