WATCH: Greater Victoria businesses are trying to meet an increase in consumer spending that shows no signs of slowing down. April Lawrence reports.
If you’ve been racking up more receipts than usual in the past few months you’re not alone.
According to new numbers released from payment transaction company Moneris, pending across Canada is up 5.5 per cent, and the increase is even higher in B.C at 7.9 per cent for the months of April, May, and June.
Low interest rates, a strengthening economy and higher prices are all behind the rise.
“Unemployment rates have been coming down particularly in B.C. for the last six months, the stock market has largely risen consistently over the last six months, so I think in this part of the country people are feeling optimistic,” said Dr. Saul Klein, Dean of UVic’s Gustavson School of Business.
Ranking third for the biggest increase in spending, up 13.1 per cent, is home furnishings.
“We’re finding both locations in Victoria and Nanaimo have increased because of the real estate, real estate has really been on fire in the last couple of months and it has brought more new buyers coming through the doors,” said Love Dodd of Dodd’s Furniture.
The second biggest increase was at pet shops, with spending up 18.5 per cent over the same period last year.
Lisa Nitkin, owner of Pets West in Broadmead Village, said not only are people buying more, the costs of many of those products have gone up.
“So we’ve seen the price of our pet foods go up because the raw foods are going up in price, the meats, the fruits the vegetables just like we’ve seen on the grocery store shelves,” she said.
The low Canadian dollar is also to blame but Nitkin said people are also choosing more expensive products.
The Fort McMurray wildfires are behind the biggest rise in spending in the second quarter, pushing charitable donations up more than 21 per cent.
But as spending in Canada climbs so too does debt.
“If interest rates go up which is not likely to happen really any time soon that becomes a bigger problem,” said Klein.
But for now, many retail shops are making plans for even busier times ahead.
“We are looking at a better fall than ever, we’re looking for record numbers,” said Dodd.
You can find the full Moneris consumer report here.