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February 21, 2022

Canadian shoppers boost Buffalo economy in a big way

At first glance, you might conclude Canadians aren’t shopping the way they used to.

According to numbers released Tuesday morning, retail sales slumped in December, the latest month figures are available, after four straight months of gains.

On the surface, this suggests holiday shopping was either done early or not at all, though perhaps official Canadian sales data is misleading.

Maybe, when viewed through the prism of a new report from just south of the border, many Canadians simply flocked to the U.S. late last year to do their shopping.

Indeed, at a time when Canadian sales figures had fallen, the finances in Buffalo, that popular cross-border shopping destination, apparently boomed.

*Bing: Is it really cheaper to shop in the States?

In Erie County, the New York region where Buffalo and its surrounding fashion outlets lie, sales tax revenues hit big last year, topping US$400 million for the first time ever.

Year-over-year, Erie County took in some US$401 million in sales tax receipts last year, up 4.5 per cent from 2010.

According to the Buffalo News, county officials are attributing much of the growth to Canadian shoppers.

The figures from Buffalo are year-long, yes, and what we saw in Canada’s retail portfolio is from December, so the comparison isn’t rock solid.

Though it is a little bit telling, more so when you look closer inside the numbers from the true, north, strong and free.

What do Canadians head south for to shop? They go for clothes, they go for electronics and, if they live close enough to the border, they go for gas.

According to the figures from December, sales of clothing and clothing accessories fell 0.8 per cent in Canada, sales of electronics and appliances fell 2.8 per cent and sales at gas stations fell 1.1 per cent.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...