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by Mario Toneguzzi
CalgaryHerald.com

Retail sales in the Calgary region are forecast to balloon by $7.2 billion to $28.678 billion a year in 2015, far outpacing the annual rate of growth at the national average.

Seeing a 9.1 per cent annual decline in 2009, the Conference Board of Canada said retail sales rebounded in the Calgary census metropolitan area in 2010 with a 5.1 per cent hike to $21.433 billion.

And from 2011 to 2015, the region is expected to see annual growth rates of 5.0 per cent, 6.4 per cent, 6.4 per cent, 6.1 per cent and 6.2 per cent.

“The emergence of the greater Calgary region as an economic hub and retail powerhouse is evident in the busy shopping centres and other retail venues across the city,” said Michael Kehoe, an Alberta-based retail specialist with Fairfield Commercial Real Estate Inc. “High levels of consumer confidence and retail spending are driven by the diversified local economy led by the oil and gas industry that continues to provide a boost to the regional economic scene with retail sales ahead of 2010 levels.

“In retail circles we continue to see that there are two distinct economies – Alberta’s and the rest of North America. Solid economic fundamentals, high levels of consumer confidence and low unemployment continue to fuel Calgary’s retail sector.”

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