Hirsch: Retail Still Going Strong in Alberta, For Now

While Albertans were shopping up a storm for the month of November, ATB economist Todd Hirsch said they might not so willingly dole out the cash for shopping in 2013.

“With warnings of lower oil prices and worries of lower provincial government spending in the coming budget, there may be a few anxious moments in store for some Albertans,” said Hirsch adding those factors could pull back the reins of retail enthusiasm in the province for the coming months.

Retail sales in Alberta were at $5.89 billion in November, a slight increase over October’s numbers but a new record high month of sales for the province.

“With a steady increase in shopping activity in Alberta wince June of last year, it was probably high time for some moderation in November,” said Hirsch.

He said November’s high level of spending underscores the point that Albertans are confident shoppers.

“With 4.2 per cent unemployment in November and strong wage increases, Albertans are feeling confident in their job prospects. Another factor is demographics: a population being fed by in-migration means retail sales are bound to rise,” Hirsch said. “A third factor is new housing construction. All those new homes need to be filled with new flooring, furniture and appliances.”

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