Ringing Registers

October retail sales tumble 11 percent Year-to-date taxable sales in Lafayette Parish are down 5.5 percent.

Year-to-date taxable sales in Lafayette Parish are down 5.5 percent.

October retail sales took a double-digit fall from October a year ago, sliding 11 percent to $476 million. So far this year, $4.95 billion in sales have been reported, a 5.5 percent decline from the first 10 months of 2014, in which a record-setting $6.41 billion in sales were tallied.

October marks the seventh consecutive month of declining month-over-month retail sales, an economic indicator that is closely tracking the oilfield downturn that has led to thousands of layoffs in the Lafayette region.

Year-to-date sales are down in all municipalities across the parish — ranging from 0.9 percent in Lafayette to 21.2 percent in Broussard. Sales are also down 19.8 percent in unincorporated areas of the parish.

Within the city of Lafayette, year-to-date sales in the food category still show a 1.4 percent increase over 2014. Sales were down in apparel, general merchandise, auto, furniture, building materials and professional services; while sales in miscellaneous broke even. In an October 2014 to October 2015 comparison, sales in all categories are down — ranging from 0.7 percent for miscellaneous to a whopping 25.5 percent for building materials.

According to the Lafayette Economic Development Authority’s analysis, there are some bright spots in retail sales when taking a deeper look into sales within categories. In the food category, grocery store sales are up 22.8 percent over 2014 and restaurants sales are up 3.25 percent. In the apparel category, men’s sales are up 8.95 percent and children’s sales are up 18.42 percent. Painting contractor sales are up 37.33 percent in the building materials category.

“LEDA’s forecasting model has remained consistent,” says Gregg Gothreaux, president and CEO of LEDA. “Total retail sales this year should be on par with 2012 totals — just under $6 billion. This will still be more than 20 percent higher than retail sales in 2009 when Lafayette was impacted by the national recession.”

October hotel/motel receipts totaled $7.9 million — a 2.6 percent bump over 2014 numbers due to LAGCOE. However, receipts are 3 percent lower than October 2013 when LAGCOE was last held. Year-to-date hotel/motel receipts are down by 5.1 percent.