June 30, 2015 05:30 PM

Retail sales for the first four months of 2015 reached the $2 billion mark, exactly where they were at this point last year.

April sales of just more than $494 million, however, are down 5.3 percent from April 2014.

Auto sales in the city of Lafayette showed the largest increase over 2014, 5.8 percent. Other categories showing increases — ranging from 4 percent to 1.1 percent — are building materials, furniture, food and other/miscellaneous. Sales were down slightly in apparel (1 percent) and general merchandise (1.6 percent).

“As I addressed in the State of the Economy presentation, this drop in retail sales is the fallout of lower oil prices,” says Gregg Gothreaux, president and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. “With that being said we don’t expect a bad year for total retail sales. While our forecasting model shows sales will not reach the $6 billion threshold, we should end the year near 2011 totals.”

Lafayette Parish broke a record in 2014 with a total of $6.4 billion in taxable sales, a 6.5 percent increase over the $6 billion in 2013, itself a banner year.

April hotel/motel receipts totaled $7.4 million, a 9.3 percent dip from April 2014. Year-to-date hotel/motel receipts are down by 2.8 percent.

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