Albertans appetite for eating out continues unabated

Increased sales across the country can be partially attributed to many summer festivals with favourable weather

Mario ToneguzziEven though the economy is still struggling and recovering slowly, people in Alberta continue to have an appetite for eating and drinking out.

Sales in the food services and drinking place sector continue to rise in the province.

On Tuesday, Statistics Canada reported that those sales climbed to $798.9 million in July, up 0.8 per cent from the previous month.

On an annual basis, Alberta sales rose by 2.8 per cent.

Across Canada, the federal agency said sales were up for the third consecutive month, rising by 0.4 per cent to $6.1 billion.

“Higher receipts were reported at limited-service restaurants (+0.6 per cent), full-service restaurants (+0.2 per cent), special food services (+1.0 per cent) and drinking places (+0.7 per cent),” it said.

“Eight provinces reported higher sales in July. Most of the gains were attributable to higher sales in Quebec (+1.9 per cent), Alberta (+0.8 per cent), Manitoba (+3.4 per cent) and British Columbia (+0.6 per cent). Increased sales can be partially attributed to many summer festivals with favourable weather. Ontario (-0.8 per cent) and Saskatchewan (-0.4 per cent) posted the only decreases.”

StatsCan said prices for food purchased from restaurants were up 4.4 per cent in July compared with July 2017, and prices for alcoholic beverages served in licensed establishments were up 2.5 per cent over the same period.

Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

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