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Alberta's retail sector grew at more than twice the national average this year


It turns out Albertans still like to spend.

Alberta's retail sector has grown by 7.5 per cent this year to date, more than twice the national average of 3.5 per cent, according to data from Statistics Canada.

We can at least partly thank some new neighbours.

"So, the combination of more people coming here, migration from other provinces and internationally, and a stronger job market that has contributed to higher retail sales," said Mark Parsons, chief economist at ATB Financial.

"Clothing, shoes, sporting hobbies, those are where we're seeing some pretty strong increases."

There are still signs that rising interest rates are having an impact on people's decisions.

"One area we're starting to see a bit of weakness is on big-ticket items like furniture. That's more interest-rate sensitive. So that's coming off a little bit," Parsons said.

Despite general optimism in Calgary's business community, it's on the radar.

"Discretionary expenditures may be on the table in terms of where they pull back and that's generally what we see happen," said Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

"Sectors that are exposed to that discretionary world like hospitality and tourism and retail may see some softness going forward."

There are also some challenges facing business in general across the country, but optimism remains high overall, according to a survey conducted by Statistics Canada.

The Q2 Canadian Survey on Business Conditions went through more than 15,000 responses from Canadian businesses between April and May this year.

It found many businesses were concerned about rising costs, labour shortages, falling demand and supply-chain problems. Top Stories

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