EBR spending flat in 2013

Spending in East Baton Rouge Parish by consumers and businesses was basically unchanged in 2013 when compared with a year earlier.

Sales tax collection figures released by the city-parish Finance Department show businesses and consumers spent $8.02 billion in 2013, a 0.3 percent increase over the $8 billion spent in 2012.

Officials have said 2013 faced a difficult comparison, since the numbers for 2012 were buoyed by Baton Rouge hosting the U.S. Bowling Congress’ 2012 Open Championship Tournament, an event that was held over five months and attracted 70,200 bowlers and their guests from across the U.S.

A strong December helped push 2013 numbers. For the month, spending was up 4.1 to nearly $793.3 million.

That was the best month of the year in terms of total sales and the second best month in terms of outstripping the 2012 performance. Only September, when sales were up nearly 4.6 percent, was better.

Sales were up in all categories in December, including retail trade and food stores, which accounts for 57 percent of all collections in the parish.

That category posted a nearly 1.3 percent gain over December 2012.

The figures do not include vehicle sales, which are generally examined separately when looking at spending as an economic indicator.

Spending, excluding vehicles, within the city limits was up nearly 1 percent for 2013, to reach $4.25 billion. This includes activity at Cortana Mall and on College Drive.

Spending outside the city limits, which includes the Mall of Louisiana and big-box retailers on Siegen Lane, was down nearly 0.5 percent for the year, to nearly $3.78 billion.

Because of the concentration of retailers, it’s not surprising that the area outside the city limits saw December spending go up by nearly 5.7 percent to reach $391.4 million. Spending inside the city limits was up nearly 2.7 percent, to $401.9 million.

Vehicle sales were up 12.4 percent for the year, topping out at just over $54 million.

Tax collections for the city-parish, which include vehicle sales were up to $174.8 million for the year, a 1.2 percent increase.

For the year, spending was up in all categories except manufacturing, which saw a nearly 8 percent drop for the year.