Ringing Registers

Retail sales decline continues

Taxable sales in Lafayette Parish down almost 7 percent from last year.

Almost $462 million in taxable sales were generated in Lafayette Parish in May, which is 4.6 percent less than was sold in May 2015. May sales marked the 14th consecutive month where sales have been lower than the previous year.

May sales bring the 2016 year-to-date total $2.3 billion, a 6.8 percent decline when compared with the first five months of 2015.

The Lafayette Economic Development Authority reports that year-to-date sales are down in all municipalities across the parish — ranging from 3.4 percent in Lafayette to 21.1 percent in Broussard. Sales are also down a whopping 22.5 percent in the unincorporated areas of the parish.

Within the city of Lafayette, year-to-date sales in the food category are up 4.7 percent over 2015, and service and general merchandise categories also increased 3.1 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. Sales are down in all other categories — ranging from 2 percent for the manufacturers, utilities and miscellaneous category to 25.4 percent for building materials. In a month-to-month comparison (May 2016 to May 2015), food sales are up 7.6 percent, while other categories like furniture and automobiles declined 18.4 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

LEDA notes some bright spots in retail sales when taking a deeper look into sales within the different categories. In the food category, grocery store sales are up 14.8 percent over 2015, and restaurants sales increased 1.5 percent. In the apparel category, men’s clothing sales jumped 13.1 percent and women’s clothing sales inched up 3.2 percent. Painting contractor sales are up 92.6 percent, and electrical and plumbing contractor sales rose 23.2 percent in the building materials category.

“With the help of the LEDA forecasting model, we presume total retail sales this year should be between 2011 and 2012 levels — near $5.6 billion,” says LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux. “Every day we are seeing new stores, new restaurants and new investments in Lafayette. There is still a lot of confidence out there about the Lafayette market and the resiliency of our community.”

May hotel/motel receipts totaled $7 million, 7.8 percent lower than May 2015. Year-to-date hotel/motel receipts are down 8.3 percent.