Alberta retail sales rebounded in November

Retail sales in Alberta rebounded in November posting a 1.9 per cent gain  to $6.8 billion following three consecutive monthly declines, says Statistics Canada.

“Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers more than offset a decline at gasoline stations,” said the federal agency on Wednesday.

On an annual basis, sales were up 0.5 per cent.

Nationally, retail sales decreased 0.9 per cent to $50.4 billion in November on lower sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers. Excluding these two subsectors, retail sales increased 0.2 per cent, said StatsCan.

retailIt said sales were down in six of 11 subsectors, representing 75 per cent of retail trade. After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms declined 0.4 per cent.

“On an unadjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales reached $2.3 billion in November, accounting for 4.2 per cent of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 20.1 per cent, while total unadjusted retail sales rose 1.1 per cent,” added the federal agency.

Douglas Porter, chief economist at the BMO Financial Group, said “the run of soft Canadian data in November continues, suggesting the economy likely dipped in the month and pointing to some downside risk to even the (Bank of Canada’s) 1.3 per cent estimate for Q4 GDP.”

Omar Abdelrahman, economist with TD Economics, said the retail sales release came in a bit worse than expected.

“Combining this data and yesterday’s manufacturing and wholesale trade data leaves our fourth quarter GDP tracking a tick lower at 1.5 per cent, roughly in line with Bank of Canada expectations,” said the economist.

“Going forward, healthy labour markets should continue to provide some support to consumer spending. Nevertheless, this will likely be countered by rising borrowing and debt-servicing costs. November’s retail sales data reinforces the moderating growth narrative, and reinforces the need for a shift away in real GDP growth from consumer spending to investment and exports to keep growth around its long-term trend.”

– Mario Toneguzzi for Calgary’s Business


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