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Calgary Expected To Experience Spending Boom

In many ways, the recession is like an economic tornado, destroying everything and everyone in its path. Apparently, no one is safe from the effects of the nation's economic downturn. Businesses and consumers alike have been feeling the crunch for what feels like an eternity now.

Perhaps, making it worse is the series of reports that has been coming from the media which tend to send conflicting messages. Things are looking up one day, while the next it appears as if they are only getting worse. In one story, consumers are encouraged to start spending to support the economy. In another, they are advised to save up as much as possible.

In yet another example of “good news” being delivered to the Canadian public, earlier today, Sun Media's Markus Ermisch reported that Calgary's retail sales are expected to push towards record numbers over the next four years. Good news for Calgarians…or is it?

Ermisch notes that after declining sales over the past two years, the Conference Board of Canada predicts that in 2010, retail sales will rise by 3.9% totalling $21.2 billion. They contend that this rising trend will continue well into 2013 when sales reach nearly $26 billion – an increase of $5 billion in four years.

While the prediction of great things to come for Calgary's economy is clearly a welcome thought, it should come as no surprise if some Canadians view such claims as wishful thinking.

The Conference Board, however, appears to be firm on its stance, citing the “growing investment in the oilpatch” as the main reason consumers will resume their confidence in spending.

Dan Sumner, an economist with ATB Financial, appears to be more realistic. He was quoted as saying: “Obviously, there's a lot of uncertainty in forecasting out that far. I'm not sure if the growth is going to pick up that quickly. But since we've seen a slow economy in 2008 and 2009, there's a good chance that there'll be some reasonable growth in the couple of years after that.”

Sumner remains hopeful, remarking that it is only normal to expect a spending rebound following a “pent-up” demand for it. However, only time will tell if Calgary will “giddy-up” and lead Canada on its way out of the recession.

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