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Lawrence retail sales post 5 percent gain in 2012, the largest growth rate since 1998


New numbers suggest Lawrence shoppers didn’t exactly go crazy during the holiday shopping season, but they did a pretty good job of being loose with their wallets every other time of the year.

The city has closed the books on its 2012 sales tax collections, which means we also can look at 2012 retail sales.

The year end report shows $1.35 billion worth of taxable sales took place in Lawrence in 2012, up from $1.29 billion in 2011. That’s an increase of 5.2 percent, which is the largest growth rate for retail sales since 1998, when the city had an 8.5 percent jump in sales.

The city posted the strong numbers despite the fact that sales tax collections in December were down significantly. December collections were off by about 6 percent from the same period in 2011. The December report — because of lag times in reporting — represents sales made in mid-October to mid-November, which means the early part of the holiday shopping season.

The city also released its January 2013 report, which gives a little more hope that the holiday season wasn’t all that bad. Collections during that period were up 6.7 percent from the same period a year ago. That report tracks sales made from mid-November to mid-December, so right in the heart of the holiday season.

The December and January reports kind of offset each other, so the holiday sales totals thus far are a bit of a wash. The 2012 holiday totals are up 0.1 percent from the same period in 2011. The February report, which will report sales from mid-December to mid-January, will tell the story on this year’s holiday shopping season. Those numbers should be out in a few more weeks.

Until then, here are some other facts and figures from the 2012 sales tax report:

• The city collected $32.36 million in sales taxes in 2012, which was up from the $30.55 million the city had budgeted to collect during the year.

• Retail sales in Lawrence were up on a consistent basis throughout 2012. Retail sales were up during 10 out of the 12 reporting periods in 2012. Only the December and September periods were down when compared with the same period a year ago.

• The $1.35 billion in taxable sales, when adjusted for inflation, was the highest total since 2008, when the city had $1.36 billion in inflation adjusted sales. That’s significant because it shows Lawrence’s retail numbers almost have recovered what was lost during the Great Recession.

As for how Lawrence compared with other cities around the state, here’s a look at a few:

• Lawrence: 5.2 percent

• Baldwin City: 0.7 percent

• Basehor: 20.9 percent

• Emporia: down 1.9 percent

• Eudora: 8.6 percent

• Kansas City, Kan.: 5.9 percent

• Leavenworth: 0.9 percent

• Olathe: 4.3 percent

• Ottawa: 0.8 percent

• Overland Park: 3.5 percent

• Shawnee: 0.9 percent

• Tonganoxie: down 8.0 percent

• Topeka: 0.1 percent

One thing I did notice is that most cities had a better first half of the year than they did a second half. We’ll see what 2013 brings. More credit bills in my mailbox is my guess.


Steve Jacob 5 years, 1 month ago

That 8% down in Tonganoxie is staggering.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Who's cooking the books? Creating a false impression can come back to bite someone in the butt.

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