EBR retail spending drops again

Spending in East Baton Rouge Parish by consumers and businesses fell 2.97 percent in June from a year ago, the fourth month this year spending has been lower than in 2012.

Officials have noted that the figures are up against year-ago numbers that were buoyed by a national bowling convention, which boosted key segments from February through July of last year.

Sales tax collection figures released by the city-parish Finance Department show businesses and consumers spent nearly $675.4 million in June. The figures do not include vehicle sales, which are generally examined separately when looking at spending as an economic indicator.

Vehicle sales were virtually unchanged from the year before, dropping 0.4 percent to nearly $57.8 million in June. Auto sales are up 11.5 percent through midyear.

There was a sharp drop in spending outside the city limits. Spending within the city limits dropped 0.6 percent to $358.5 million, but fell 5.6 percent to $316.9 million in the outer areas.

For the first six months of 2013, spending in the parish is down 1.9 percent to $3.93 billion. Spending outside the city limits has fallen by 3.0 percent, to $1.84 billion, but has dropped by 0.9 percent in the city limits to $2.09 billion.

Tax collections for the city-parish, which include vehicle sales, were down 2.7 percent in June to $14.7 million. For the year, the city-parish has collected $85.8 million, down 0.9 percent.