The Province of BC is reporting retail sales growth higher than the national average and many local businesses are experiencing similar growth.
According to a Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour press release, “British Columbia’s seasonally adjusted, year-to-date retail sales to October were worth $62.2 billion, an increase of $3.9 billion or 6.6 per cent compared with the same period in 2015.”
That increase ranks BC first when compared with the other provinces. The average Canadian increase in retail sales was 3.8 per cent for the period.
The press release also states, “This performance is expected to continue in 2017, with many economic forecasters predicting B.C. will again lead the national average in retail sales growth.”
Castlegar Canadian Tire owner Bob Saari reports his store saw similar growth to the provincial average in 2016 and also projects continued growth in 2017. “We have kept up with the provincial increase — no question,” said Saari. “I am very optimistic about 2017 — hopes are up as long as the economy stays strong in Castlegar.”
Saari also explained that when retail stores do well, it is good for the broader Castlegar economy as hungry shoppers often visit surrounding restaurants in search for something to eat.
Mallards Source for Sports saw sales growth above the provincial average. “Overall it’s very positive,” said owner Dale Donaldson. He attributes some of the increase to more people choosing to stay home and shop locally instead of looking to larger centres for their purchases. “I think the shine has come off of that,” he said. “People are realizing that they can get most of what they need here.”
Dan Rye, owner of Kootenay Market also reports growth similar to the provincial average even though they gained a competitor when the Trail Walmart added a grocery section. He credits part of the increase on the decision to add more natural and organic products to the store shelves.
Andre’s Electronics also saw an increase in sales in 2016.
Two locally owned businesses, Central City Shoes and the Gift Box, reported 2016 sales similar to 2015. However both of these business had excellent years in 2015, so were happy with their 2016 figures.