Ringing Registers

Lafayette Parish retail sales climb for third consecutive month

Year-to-date sales, however, still down 4.4 percent from last year.

A shopper peruses the jewelry selection at Brother's on the Blvd. in October.
Photo by Robin May

For the third consecutive month, retail sales in Lafayette Parish have bested the comparable month last year, with much of the increase related to flood recovery.

In November, $477 million in goods and services — 2.9 percent more than last November — were sold in Lafayette Parish, bringing the year-to-date total to $5.2 billion. That total reflects a 4.4 percent decline from the first 11 months of 2015.

The November tally represents the third consecutive time month-to-month sales are up, increases largely attributable to flood recovery spending.

According to an analysis by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, year-to-date sales within Scott's city limits are up 1 percent, while sales remain down in all other municipalities — ranging from 2 percent in Youngsville to 17.3 percent in Broussard. Sales fell 2.3 percent in the city of Lafayette, and the unincorporated areas of the parish dropped a whopping 14.8 percent.

Within the city limits of Lafayette, year-to-date sales in the services category (e.g., hotel, leasing of tangible property, warehouses, and machine shops) show a 6.9 percent increase over 2015. Year-to-date sales in the food and general merchandise categories have also increased over 2015 — 6.1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Sales dipped in all other categories, ranging from 1.1 percent for apparel to 16.7 percent for building materials.

In a month-to-month comparison (November 2016 to November 2015) sales in all but two categories are up — ranging from 10.4 percent in furniture to 0.1 percent in auto. Month-to-month sales are down in apparel (-0.1%) and general merchandise (-2.4%).

Gregg Gothreaux, president and CEO of LEDA, says the latest monthly sales continue to reflect modest increases connected to flood recovery. In particular, he notes that sales in the subcategories "furniture stores" and "building material stores" in Lafayette increased 28.4 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively. It should be noted that the "furniture, home furnishings and equipment group" includes the subcategory "furniture stores" and the “lumber, building and contractors group” encompasses "lumber, building material, paint and wallpaper stores."

In Youngsville, which was also hard hit by the August flooding, November sales jumped almost 21 percent, Gothreaux notes.

The best way to ensure that the increases continue is for local residents to spend their dollars with area retailers, he adds. “Now that the holiday shopping season is over, I encourage Lafayette Parish residents to continue shopping local in the new year.”

On an even brighter note, November hotel/motel receipts totaled $7.2 million, 26 percent more than November 2015 — sending year-to-date totals up 1.9 percent compared to 2015.