Monday, May 26, 2008

Saskatchewan tops country in retail growth

Saskatchewan's booming resource economy helped push retail sales in the province up by 13 per cent in 2007 to $13 billion, or double the growth of 2006, according to a new report released Monday by Statistics Canada.

The province's retail sales growth rate was more than double the 5.8 per cent national rate of expansion last year. Across the country, retailers sold an estimated $412 billion worth of goods and services in 2007.

Alberta slid to second place in 2007 after leading the provinces in annual retail sales growth for three consecutive years. Alberta's retail sales grew by 9.3 per cent to $61.2 billion.

On a national basis, for every $100 consumers spent in retail stores in 2007:

$18.70 went to new car dealers.$16.00 to supermarkets.$11.80 to general merchandise stores.$11.30 to gasoline stations.$6.90 to pharmacies and personal care stores.

Retail sales rebounded in Newfoundland and Labrador from the smallest increase in sales among the provinces in 2006 to the third-largest for 2007. Newfoundland and Labrador's nine per cent increase in sales was due mainly to the automotive sector.

Manitoba was close behind with growth in sales of 8.8 per cent for 2007.

Ontario retailers saw the lowest increase in sales among the provinces last year, as sales rose 3.9 per cent to $146.3 billion. Ontario's share of the national total declined to 35.5 per cent, compared with 38.7 per cent in 2000.

Statistics Canada also said that employment in the retail sector matched that in the manufacturing sector last year for the first time. An average of almost 1,790,000 people were working in retail jobs, up 4.4 per cent from 2006, while employment in manufacturing declined three per cent to just over 1,784,700, the federal agency said.

Despite the employment gains for the retail sector, wages paid to employees lag behind those in the manufacturing sector. The average hourly wage for retail workers last year was $14.87, compared with $21.66 in the manufacturing sector.

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