The decline in retail sales — a direct result of the oil price crash — is an ominous sign that our economy, as expected, is headed for very tough times.
For the year, sales have reached $3.5 billion, which is a decline of 3.65 percent from 2014, according to information released by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. Its numbers are based on data compiled by the Lafayette Parish School System, the collecting agency. Last year Lafayette Parish broke a record with $6.4 billion in sales, besting by 6.5 percent the previous one set in 2013.
July sales, however, really took a hit, falling 8.33 percent from July a year ago.
For municipalities across the parish, year-to-date sales are up slightly in Scott and within the city of Lafayette — 1.9 percent and 0.9 percent respectively. Sales are down in Broussard, Duson, Carencro and Youngsville — 21.2, 12.9, 2.3 and 1.5 percent, respectively. Sales are also down 17.2 percent in unincorporated areas of the parish.
In the city of Lafayette, year-to-date sales for the food, auto, furniture and other/miscellaneous categories showed increases over 2014, ranging from 2.5 percent to 1.7 percent. Sales were down in general merchandise, apparel, building materials and general service. In a month-to-month comparison (July 2015 to July 2014), sales in the furniture, food and other/miscellaneous categories are up 10.6 percent, 2.9 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. Other categories are down 13.7 percent to 1.4 percent.
“According to LEDA’s forecasting model, total retail sales this year should be on par with 2012 totals, just under $6 billion,” says Gregg Gothreaux, president and CEO of the LED. “Overall, the five current indicators LEDA tracks, including retail sales, are holding up — buoyed by a strong average home sale price and increasing airport enplanements. Monitoring the current indicators in the second half of 2015 will be crucial.”
LEDA also notes that July hotel/motel receipts totaled $7.3 million, 2.3 percent lower than July 2014. Year-to-date hotel/motel receipts are down by 3.7 percent.