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Retail sales in city starting to slip, latest report finds
If you haven't gotten your annual roller coaster ride in yet, don't worry. You can always spend a little time with the city of Lawrence's retail sales numbers. They've been up and down and up and down.
The city has received its latest sales tax check, representing sales made roughly from mid-June to mid-July, and the trend continues. Sales for the month were down 2.1 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The city now has received eight of its 12 sales tax checks for 2013. Four of them have been up from the same period a year ago, and four of them have been down.
So far the net result has been OK. Total year-to-date sales in the city are up 1.5 percent from the same period a year ago. But that number is beginning to look a little weaker all the time. That's because the city's roller coaster has been on a more downward path than upward. During the first four months of the year, retail sales were growing at a 3 percent clip. In the last four months, sales totals have been stagnant from a year ago.
When you factor inflation into the equation, Lawrence's sales totals aren't quite keeping up. Here's a look at taxable sales made in the city thus far in 2013 compared to the same period in past years. The numbers in parentheses are the numbers adjusted for inflation. You'll notice that 2012's sales adjusted for inflation are slightly higher than 2013's sales. So, that's a sign that retailers may be having a bit of a ho-hum season thus far. But the numbers also show sales are much better than they were during the recession. On the flip side, sales still have quite a ways to go to reach pre-recession levels.
2013 sales: $922.3 million
2012 sales: $908.7 million ($924.5)
2011 sales: $844.3 million ($876.7)
2010 sales: $814.6 million ($872.6)
2009 sales: $831.0 million ($904.8)
2008 sales: $861.4 million ($934.5)
Town Talk will be off on Monday for the Labor Day holiday. Enjoy your three-day weekend. Heck, ride a roller coaster. My wife has been urging us to cross that activity off the summer list. I've resisted. I can't figure out why my seat is the only one without seat belts.