Retail Market in Alberta Ready to Bounce Back Strong

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With a strong first quarter already in the books and a good pace set for investment in retail, it’s very possible that the downturn is now or will soon be in the rear-view mirror. The past two years have trended downward for the Alberta retail market. Now, it’s on the way back.

A report from Colliers Internationals shows that total retail sales were $75 billion for 2016. This was a 1.4% decrease in sales growth and made Alberta the only Canadian province with a negative percentage. It also marked the second year in a row for negative sales growth in Alberta (2015 was -3%).

Even with the negative growth over the past two years, Alberta started the year off strong. For the first quarter of 2017, a very strong 7.2% growth rate was realized throughout the province. This marks the first sign of the retail market rebounding.

While new growth may just be kicking in now, spending throughout Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec remain very high. With the latest Global Retirement Index showing Canada as one of strongest economies in the world, international investment, tourism, and local retails is likely to continue to grow.

Two Very Different Cities

Calgary and Edmonton are not the same when it comes to retail. While Edmonton has remained rather stable for retail, Calgary hasn’t always been as stable. Calgary tends to experience higher highs and lower lows than Edmonton, as well.

Retailers often choose Edmonton over Calgary due to make up of the city, along with the lease prices. Even with the differences between the two cities, experts believe both Calgary and Edmonton are on the rise for the retail market.

A Sears Bump in the Road

Sears is putting a small bump in the road as the department store chain continues to struggle. Three outlets are found in both Edmonton and Calgary, which pose a challenge, as these stores may not stay open much longer. However, this isn’t expected to have much of an impact when it comes to investment volumes or the general outlook of the retail market.


Retail is on the rise in Alberta and even though Edmonton and Calgary are very different, both are expected to see growth within the retail sector. While Sears could pose a challenge for some retail landlords, it’s a small issue given the overall upward trend in retail, and demand for space.