Strong Growth in the West, Moderate in the East
Overall, the latest consumer retail stats were positive. Knowing where sales are strong or ailing is important to your marketing and sales strategy. Here’s a brief review of retail sales activity in August:
Canadian retail sales stats from August 2012 showed a .3% growth overall for the country for an annualized rate of 3.7%. Most provinces kept current sales levels or fell just slightly. Saskatchewan and Alberta are enjoying astonishing year over year growth with SK jumping 9.3% and Alberta up 8.1%. British Columbia had the worst performance with a .9% decline.
The CBC reported that department store sales had edged up only 0.25% while miscellaneous retailers showed a decline for the 2nd consecutive month, falling 3.1%. “Canadian consumer spending remained choppy through the first two months of Q3, but growth should still pick up from a very sluggish Q2 performance,” says Robert Kavcic, an economist at BMO Capital Markets.
Ontario Retail Sales Shows Respectable Growth
Ontario’s retail sales totalled $13.7 billion, the largest by volume in Canada and that amounted to a respectable .6% uptick for August. The Ontario market is still key to any manufacturer from Vancouver to Halifax.
In metro Toronto, sales increased 4.9% to $5.6 billion (Year-to-August sales in metro Toronto are up 1.9% year-over-year), while elsewhere in the province, sales decreased 2.2 per cent to $8.1 billion. Retail sales have trended downward since last January according to a report by Troy Media. 2013 Ontario retail sales are expected to grow 3.7%.
Troy Media also forecasts that the GTA’s economic outlook through 2014 will include slower population growth due to relatively high unemployment. Discouraged workers will avoid Ontario and perhaps relocate to Western Canada. Major investments in power and transportation projects will continue to drive construction employment at the same time that housing starts slow. Overall job growth is expected to be moderate.
Due to its shear size, Toronto will lead the country in net in-migration. Net immigration for Ontario is forecast to decline from 61,839 persons in 2011 to 39,146 persons in 2014. Troy Media expects Ontario’s unemployment rate will fall from 8.4% in 2011 to to 7.9 per cent in 2014. Ontario’s overall employment growth numbers are forecast to increase 1.3 % in 2013 and 1.7% in 2014, consistent with the historical growth rate of 1.6% per year.
Shopping In Western Canada – An Experience
The West Edmonton Mall epitomizes the over-the-top expectations Albertans have of retailing and what life can offer. The region has plenty of other new mega malls and refurbished older malls. Consumers have a much more optimistic view of spending because of the abundance of the oil patch. It’s an entrepreneur’s dream world.
Cross Iron Mills Mega Mall in Calgary
Western Canada Booming
It’s no secret the West is doing well. The price of oil and other natural resources is the reason – fueling strong growth in population and high wages that translate into strong consumer spending.
Manufacturers should be looking westward and finding distributors and retailers in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Saskatoon because of the growth potential. Alberta’s economic growth is expected to be strong for the next 5 years. If Alberta had Ontario’s population, its total retail sales would have been above $18 Billion in August comparatively. Statscan says sales in Alberta reached $5.8 billion, up 0.4% from July and a year-over-year increase of 8.1%.
Hiring a packaging company with fulfillment and distribution capabilities solves a lot of ongoing logistical issues. If you can acquire professional design services, product packing, display assembly and distribution all from one provider, you can get back to your own work knowing they have everything covered.
Have you explored the potential of the west? What issues have prevented you from selling or distributing in Alberta and Saskatchewan? Do you think the price of oil is stable enough long term to commit to a new sales effort for the region? Do you secretly think the West could go bust? If you’re selling out there now, what problems with distribution have you encountered?
How is your instore promotion performing this year? Are you planning anything new for 2013 campaigns? Will you need to resort to price discount strategies, new packaging, POP display improvement, free sample offers, or use ready for retail packaging? Find out more about how to choose your next packaging company and about Ravenshoe Packaging located in Markham, Ontario.