April 22, 2016 11:50 am eastern

Statistics Canada has released retail sales figures for February. Within Canada, retail sales were up 0.4% versus the prior year. The increase would have been higher if not for lower gasoline sales. In volume terms sales were up 1.5%, indicating that the Canadian economy continues to grow although slowly.

By segment, used car sales were the biggest gainer, up 24%. This is likely due to people buying used vehicles to send to the United States taking advantage of the currency decline.

Within Alberta, retail sales were down 1.8%. I suspect they would have been up in volume terms after adjusting for gasoline prices which were particularly low in February. Overall, spending in Alberta is really not down very much at all in spite of the recession. At least not yet.

The consumer price index and figures for March were also released. Canadian consumer prices are reported to be up 1.3% year over year, while core prices (excluding volatile food and energy) were up 2.1%. If we don’t make at least 2.1% per year on investments, after tax, then we are falling behind in purchasing power.