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Albertans cutting back on holiday spending in 2023: report

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Concerns about the economy and the high cost of living are seeping into Alberta's holiday spending this year, according to a recent retail survey.

A report from BMO found people in the province are cutting back on retail purchases in 2023.

It says 76 per cent of Albertans plan on buying fewer gifts this year, while 40 per cent aren't confident they'll be able to afford every item on their holiday shopping list.

"Canadians have a real concern about our current economic climate and having enough funds available to make ends meet," Jacki Tarr-Nagy, BMO’s Calgary regional vice president, told CTV News.

"Everything is costing more. So this year in particular, it's going to be more difficult."

Lindsay Saunders, the owner of Calgary jewellery boutique Cinder and Sage, said in her 14 years of business, this has been the “trickiest, most challenging year.”

“I think there is going to be a lot of small businesses shutting doors in the new year after this Christmas season,” she said.

Saunders encourages Calgary shoppers to prioritize spending money at local stores, to help them stay afloat through the holidays – and beyond.

“Amazon doesn't need your money,” Saunders said. “Every single dollar actually does make a difference and it could be the difference between someone staying open and someone not.”

For those who are spending, the post-Christmas blues could hit in a big way come January.

BMO's research suggests Albertans believe it will take, on average, three months to pay back their holiday bills.

In fact, 51 per cent of respondents say even thinking of holiday spending causes financial anxiety.

"Consumers are being hit in the wallet with additional expenses in the grocery stores and all the retail spaces," Tarr-Nagy said. "It's a tough time."

BMO’s Real Financial Progress Index was researched by Ipsos from September 11 to October 9. They surveyed 2,502 adults and the index has a 2.2 per cent credibility index.

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