Manitoba saw the largest drop in retail sales in July, by far, of any Canadian province or territory, the same month the province’s one-point increase in the PST kicked in.
According to Statistics Canada, retail sales in Manitoba fell 4.1 per cent compared with a month earlier — although they were up 0.8 per cent compared with July 2012.
The next-worst performance in Canada was in Saskatchewan, where sales fell 1.9 per cent.
Across Canada, sales were up 0.6 per cent in July compared with June. On a July-to-July basis, sales nationally rose 3.0 per cent.
Conservative Leader Brian Pallister said this morning he’s not shocked Manitoba sales were down.
"If Manitobans don’t have as much money to spend then obviously retail sales are going to drop," he said.
The Conservatives said the monthly sales drop in Manitoba was the largest since the NDP came to power in 1999.
Pallister estimated that the government has taken in an extra $65 million in revenue since the PST was boosted to 8 per cent from seven per cent July 1.
"That is money that the NDP has sucked out of the economy to use indiscriminately on a spending spree," he said.