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BC retailers far outperform national average

(iStock Photo)

BC's gain was more than twice the national average

Conference Board of Canada the retail sector is employing fewer people

MONTREAL, QUE. (NEWS 1130) – Canada’s retail sales are picking up, with BC making a large contribution. The nation’s retailers had a 0.6 per cent sales increase in September from August for a total of $44.4 billion, led by the auto sector. Statistics Canada says sales rose in eight provinces, with BC and Ontario gaining 0.9 per cent from the previous month.

On a year-over-year basis, which is what retailers themselves focus on, BC’s gain of 5.7 per cent to $6.3 billion was more than twice the national average of 2.5 per cent and almost double Ontario’s gain.

Nat $44.4 billion   +0.6% m/m   2.5% y/y
BC $6.3 billion     +0.9% m/m   5.7% y/y
ON $16 billion     +0.4% m/m    2.9% y/y
AB $6.1 billion    +0.3% m/m   -2.4% y/y
(Source: Statistics Canada)

Although retail sales are rising, a think-tank says the sector is offering less work. The Conference Board of Canada predicts retail employment will be $1.26 million this year, down 2.6 per cent from 2015. It cites factors including the rise of online shopping and self-checkout terminals.

The Ottawa-based research organization predicts a gradual increase over the next few years, but forecasts retail employment by 2021 will only be back to the level of 2013.

Another factor cited by the Conference Board is consumer confidence, which it says is held back by record levels of consumer debt — a situation it predicts will curtail spending over the next couple of years.