Retail sales down 5.5% in Alberta

Retail sales in Alberta were down in December, the third decrease in four months, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

StatsCan report also shows 3.1% dip from November to December last year

Retail sales numbers in Alberta were down from November to December, mostly driven by slower car sales, Statistics Canada says. (Canadian Press/Associated Press)

Retail sales in Alberta were down in December, the third decrease in four months, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

Sales dipped 3.1 per cent from November to December.

"The decline in December stemmed from weaker sales at new car dealers," the agency said on its website.

From December 2014 to December 2015, retails sales in Alberta are down from $6.48 billion to $6.12 billion —  or 5.5 per cent.

Nationally, retail sales dropped 2.2 per cent to $43.2 billion in December, compared to the previous month.

The last time retail sales saw a month-over-month drop of that size was April 2010 when it fell by 2.3 per cent, the agency said.

Retail sales fell in almost every sub sector, with motor vehicle and parts dealers seeing the biggest decrease in dollar terms, Statistics Canada said.

Retail sales decreased in every province except for Prince Edward Island, where they ticked up 0.1 per cent.

But the luxury U.S. retail chain Saks Fifth Avenue isn't daunted by dipping sales in Canada. The company's first Canadian store opened in downtown Toronto on Thursday. 

Five more are expected to open in other Canadian cities in the months and years to follow. 

Saks also plans to open as many as 25 Canadian locations of its lower priced Saks Off Fifth chain by 2019 — including one at CrossIron Mills in Calgary. 

With files from The Canadian Press

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