May was a good month for retailers in Alberta.
According to Statistics Canada, retail sales in the province climbed to just under $7 billion for the month, which was up two per cent from April and a hike of 3.7 per cent year over year.
Across Canada, the federal agency said on Friday, retail sales also rose by two per cent on a monthly basis, hitting $50.8 billion in May, following a drop of 0.9 per cent in April.
“Sales rose in eight of 11 subsectors, representing 70 per cent of retail trade,” said StatsCan. “Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and at gasoline stations were the main contributors to the gain in May. Excluding these two subsectors, retail sales were up 0.9 per cent. After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 2.0 per cent.”
On an annual basis, retail sales in Canada were up 3.6 per cent.
Statistics Canada said national sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (+3.7 per cent) made almost a full rebound following a 3.8 per cent decline in April, which had unseasonably cool temperatures and inclement weather in many parts of the country.
“Receipts at gasoline stations (+4.3 per cent) were up for the second month in a row, partially reflecting higher prices at the pump. Sales in volume terms at gasoline stations rose 2.7 per cent,” StatsCan said.
“General merchandise stores (+3.2 per cent), building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+5.4 per cent) and clothing and clothing accessories stores (+2.8 per cent) also contributed to the gain. Increases in each of these subsectors more than offset the declines that had been reported in April.”
The federal agency said food and beverage stores (-2.1 per cent) posted a sales decline for the fourth time in five months, primarily due to lower sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (-3.1 per cent).
“According to the Retail Commodity Survey, 20.6 per cent of food sales took place at general merchandise stores in the first quarter of 2018 compared with 19.1 per cent in 2017. During the same period, 75.1 per cent of food sales came from the food and beverage stores subsector, down from 76.5 per cent in 2017.”
Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.
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