EBR retail spending flat in January

Retail spending in East Baton Rouge Parish was basically flat in January, rising less than a half-percent compared with that month a year ago.

The figures, released by the city-parish Finance Department on Tuesday, show spending by consumers and businesses was $603.4 million, up 0.3 percent compared to $601.4 million.

Spending outside the city limits buoyed the total, rising by 4 percent as it fell by 3 percent inside the city limits.

Retail trade, which makes up 51 percent of the total, had a strong showing in January, rising 5 percent. Similarly, food services and drinking establishments, which is 11 percent of the total, rose 10 percent.

The weak spots were manufacturing, which is 11 percent of the total and fell 5 percent, and the “other” category, which is 8 percent of the total and fell 29 percent.

The services sector, which is 10 percent of the total, was flat.

The overall figures do not include vehicle sales, a significant but volatile category stripped out when looking at spending as an economic indicator. Taken on its own, however, vehicle sales continued to post strong gains, rising 15 percent.

Total tax collections by the city parish, which does include revenue from vehicle sales, were up 1.6 percent to $13.3 million for the month.