New Walmart index shows consumer recovery

January 27, 2012
Jan. 27, 2012 /CNW/, Mississauga, ON - Walmart Canada has announced the launch of the Walmart Canada Income Tracker, a monthly tool that gives unprecedented insight into the financial health of Canadian households, the retailer says.

Right out of the gate, it shows the decline in household spending power has slowed, and is beginning to recover. 

The Walmart Canada Income Tracker compares average household income with the key financial obligations facing Canadian households each month, including taxes, shelter, transportation, cost of utilities, and food. Spending power is the money available after these obligations are met to save or to spend on discretionary items (e.g., toys, clothing, furniture) or experiences, (e.g., movies, sports events, restaurant meals).

"Each month the Walmart Canada Income Tracker will show us how the economic environment is affecting the financial health of Canadian households," said Shelley Broader, President and CEO of Walmart Canada.  "By tracking Canadians' spending power we can make the right choices as a retailer to help Canadian families save money."

Going forward, the Walmart Canada Income Tracker will report monthly on Canadian household spending power.

Snapshot of Canadian household spending power in 2011

The Walmart Canada Income Tracker shows that in 2011 Canadian households saw incomes grow at a faster rate than key financial obligations (compared to 2010), resulting in positive spending power for Canadians in the first half of the year. This trend was reversed in July, when key household expenses began to rise faster than income on a year-over-year basis, resulting in the erosion of spending power. The main drivers behind this trend include transportation costs, food and utilities growing faster than income.

While spending power declined for the last six months of 2011, this trend appeared to bottom out in September and is now close to returning to positive numbers. In December 2011, spending power declined by only $8.00, or 0.3 per cent, compared to a year earlier, while spending power in September was down $56 compared to September 2010.

Despite declining spending power in the latter half of 2011, Canadians continued discretionary spending, using savings to pay for non-essentials such as toys, sports equipment, eating out, going to a movie, or home renovations.

Walmart Canada Income Tracker highlights for December2011 include:

  • The average Canadian household had $8 less in spending power in December 2011 compared to December, 2010, a drop of 0.3%. Spending power is down slightly because most cost of living expenses (taxes, transportation, shelter, food and utilities) are all rising faster than income

  • Though spending power declined, it is better than a few months ago. It bottomed out in September, 2011 when Canadian households had $59 less spending power per month compared to December, 2010.

  • December is the first month since July, 2011, that on average Canadian households increased their savings. From August to November, 2011, Canadian households saved less on a year-over-year basis.

About Walmart Canada
Walmart Canada operates a growing chain of 329 stores, employs over 85,000 Canadians and serves more than one million customers each day. The company is recognized by Waterstone Human Capital as having one of Canada's top 10 corporate cultures. Since 1994, Walmart has raised and donated more than $125 million to Canadian charities and not-for-profit organizations. Additional information about Walmart Canada can be found by visiting

The Walmart Income Tracker has been developed to track spending power of Canadian households using publicly available income, cost of living and consumer price index statistics compiled nationally by Statistics Canada on a monthly or quarterly basis

The Walmart Income Tracker is developed by Fusion Retail Analytics and leverages Statistics Canada's national income and expenditure accounts (released quarterly), personal expenditure on goods and services (released quarterly), labour income (released monthly), labour force estimates (released monthly) and the consumer price index (released monthly) as well as additional proprietary Fusion Retail Analytics data sources. The Walmart Spending Power Tracker is updated monthly and updated each quarter with the most recent Statistics Canada revisions.

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