March 24, 2015 05:30 PM

Coming off of a record-setting year, January retail sales in Lafayette Parish totaled more than $484 million, the highest January on record and a 6.73 increase over January last year.

Despite falling oil prices, retail sales have been on a record-breaking pace, ending the year at $6.41 billion in total taxable sales, up from $6 billion in 2013. That’s a 6.5 percent increase.

Construction is leading the way, according to the Lafayette Economic Development Authority’s analysis. Building materials in the city itself showed an increase of 29 percent. Other categories on the rise — ranging from 14.4 to 0.3 percent — are food, apparel, auto, furniture and services.

“Retail sales in January remained strong after a record-setting year, with ‘big ticket’ categories such as auto and furniture showing impressive gains," says Gregg Gothreaux, LEDA’s president and CEO. “Because retail sales is a current economic indicator, one that adjusts at the same time as the overall economy, LEDA will continue to closely monitor these numbers to gauge the impact of oil prices,” he adds. “With only one month of sales, it’s too early to predict any trends for the year.”

January hotel/motel receipts outperformed 2014, totaling $6.3 million, 11.3 percent more than 2014.

Read the Flipping Paper!

While the members of this diverse group of Acadiana women can’t all say they were firsts, each of them has contributed to our community in ways too countless to capture in 500-word profiles ...