EBR retail spending edges up in September

Retail spending rose less than 1 percent in September, the second straight month with only a modest increase following a string of strong gains fueled by a five-month bowling tournament that ended in July.

Businesses and consumers spent $633.8 million in September, compared with $628.0 that month last year, according to the latest figures released by the city-parish Finance Department.

Inside the city limits, spending fell for the second month in a row, down 1 percent to $347.5 million. In the outer parts of the parish, spending rose 4 percent to $286.3 million.

For the year, retail spending is up 7 percent to $5.92 billion — up 4 percent in the city limits and 10 percent outside.

The figures do not include vehicle sales, which are volatile and typically removed from the figures when analyzing them as an economic indicator.

Taking a look at some notable industry segments:

  • Retail trade, which is just over half of the total, was up 4 percent in September and for the year.
  • Food services and drinking places, which is 10 percent of total spending, was up 12 percent in September and 9 percent for the year.
  • Manufacturing, which is 11 percent of the total, was down 7 percent in September and up 22 percent for the year.

Total tax collections — revenue taken in by the city-parish that does include vehicle sales — were up 0.6 percent in September to $13.7 million and are up 7 percent for the year at $128.0 million.

A study released after the 151-day U.S. Bowling Congress’ 2012 Open Championship Tournament ended in July showed it created a $113.2 million economic impact. Of that amount, the study concluded that the 70,200 bowlers and their guests were responsible for $64.7 million in direct spending during the tournament, which began Feb. 11 and ended July 10.

To help cover the expenses of bringing the 2012 tournament to Baton Rouge, USBC received $1.1 million in seed money from a partnership that included the city-parish, three neighboring visitor bureaus, two local casinos and the Baton Rouge chapter of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. The city-parish’s investment was $695,000, which was made over a five-year period.