Fall 2013 Retail Report

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador to Top Holiday Sales Growth: Colliers Forecast

Holiday sales expected to rise by five per cent compared to the same period last year

Fall 2013 Retail Report cover screenshot

Toronto and Vancouver, December 2, 2013 – Following a dismal 2012 holiday shopping season that saw December’s nationwide retail sales drop nearly 3.6 per cent compared to the previous year, Canadian retailers may have a reason to be more cheerful when 2013 comes to an end. According to the Colliers International 2013 Fall Retail Report and Forecast, December retail sales this year are expected to be back on track with a nearly five per cent increase compared to 2012, with cash registers ringing up $45.75 billion in sales. This forecasted holiday sales volume comes on the heels of what seems to be a recovery year for the retail sector. Colliers projects 2013 nationwide retail sales to grow modestly by 2.47 per cent ($481.5 billion) year-over-year, which is in line with the 2.5 per cent year-over-year retail sales growth of 2012, but far below the healthier 4.1 per cent gain in 2011.  

“The steady population growth and the huge increases in retail supply, formats and new brands, coupled with strong economic performance in some parts of the country, have helped to bring Canadian retail sales on the upswing again,” says James Smerdon, Vice President and Director, Retail Consulting with Colliers International in Canada. “However, the increase in household debt, shift in buying practices favouring online shopping and continued outflow of Canadians’ spending south of the border all represent a long-term headwind for Canadian retailers that will have to adjust and find creative propositions to maintain their share of the wallet.”

Regional Sales Forecast

Backed by the recovery of the energy sector and strong employment rates that increase consumer confidence levels, the provinces of Alberta (8.42%), Newfoundland and Labrador (8.19%) and Saskatchewan (6.14%) are expected to lead the country in terms of holiday sales growth this year, high above the forecasted national average (4.83%). This somewhat mirrors the forecast for annual retail sales growth in these provinces (AB 6.3%, NFD 5.19% and SK 3.6%). Ontario (2.6%), British Columbia (2.54%) and Quebec (2.04%), while accounting for the lion’s share of Canada’s overall retail sales volume, are expected to record annual sales growth rates that just cover inflation. 

Fall 2013 Retail Report Trade Projections chart
All numbers are in Canadian Dollar

“There is an interesting divide between these two groups of provinces — Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador on the one side, and Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia on the other,” says David Bell, Senior Associate, Planning and Retail Consulting with Colliers International in Canada. “While the latter account for approximately 70 per cent of Canada’s total retail sales, their per capita retail spending is well below the national average. At the other end of the spectrum, employment opportunities and a relatively more affordable cost of living increase consumer confidence and their available disposable income, which spurs strong retail sales growth.”  

Shopping Centre Inventory

The Colliers International Retail Report also examines the level of retail real estate inventory across Canada available to service Canadians in terms of retail square foot per capita. According to the report and based on data from the Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity (CSCA), Edmonton (27.53), Halifax (26.33) and Calgary (24.84) have the highest retail square feet per capita to service their residences, followed by Toronto (21.93) and Saskatoon (20.10). 

Report and Forecast Methodology

The Canadian Retail Sales Forecast in Colliers’ 2013 Fall Retail Report is based on a model that projects future retail sales by comparing recent sales by province and retail industry classification (NAICS codes) to historical patterns.

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