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Financial analyst weighs in on StatsCan figures suggesting retail sales down in Alberta

Numbers suggest retail sales declining in Alberta
WATCH ABOVE: Stores in Alberta will be hoping for a busy Black Friday this week. As Vinesh Pratap reports, the latest numbers from Statistics Canada suggest there is a steady decline in retail sales in the province.

The latest figures from Statistics Canada are providing a reality check on how retail sales are doing in Alberta going in to Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season.

Rob Roach with ATB Financial describes “some anxiety” with consumers who are “very aware that the provincial economy is not doing particularly well at the moment.”

READ MORE: Canadian shoppers turn to Black Friday for holiday shopping more than Boxing Day

ATB Financial compiled the latest data from Statistics Canada which show that in Alberta in September, total retail sales declined were down $187 million compared to a year earlier.

In Edmonton’s High Street shopping area off 124 Street, Katryna Springer operates Heart of the Home, a kitchen supply store.

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Springer said that in the last year, there’s “been a slow decline in traffic coming in, not necessarily sales.”

“I think we’re down, since September, two per cent.”

ATB Financial cites provincial unemployment and consumer debt as factors for the decline in retail sale numbers.

READ MORE: More Albertans suffering in insolvency silence

There is also another variable to consider; some who are spending aren’t being counted.

The Statistics Canada figures don’t take into account online sales. Some of the mega-retailers are not required to provide data since they’re not based in the country.

“We are starting to build a database and getting more numbers as it has become more popular over the years,” Roach said. “But we really don’t know sort of the full effect.”

Springer has plans to introduce online sales in order to remain competitive and bring in new revenue.

“It would be nice for people to support local,” she said.

“We’re the ones that support your communities.”