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The City Café

For those interested in sharing ideas and perspectives regarding local government.

DOUG MACDONALD

May’s distribution came out today at $45.62 million, up 3.0% from last year’s $44.31 million (Table 1).  This distribution represents monthly returns from March sales and first quarterly sales in 2013.  It follows a 4.0% gain in February and a 15.3% jump in January sales.  For the first quarter of 2013, the statewide growth ran 6.9% ahead of last year.

Table 1

Table 1

Nationwide, March retail sales and food services posted a 1.5% gain over the prior year.
Another important milestone occurred when we seasonally adjust the May distribution to $42.24 million, it is only 0.5% lower than the peak distribution of May 2007 at $42.44 million (Chart 1).

Chart 1

Chart 1

Two major cities saw gains of more than 10% in May — Sandy at 10.5% and St. George at 11.7% (Chart 2).  Both of these cities’ fiscal year-to-date growth rate are close to 10%.  Sandy’s growth may be partially due to the large sporting goods store opening this year.  St. George’s may be due to a hot construction market and a resumption of fast-desert, long-term growth.

Chart 2

Chart 2

Three other cities demonstrated better than average growth: West Valley (up 6.6%), West Jordan (up 5.6%), and Tooele (up (6.8%).

Salt Lake City’s growth rate all but stalled for March sales, but its 6.5% year-to-date growth indicates strength from its City Creek and other recent developments.

Soft growth, between 0 and 4% was the rule in cities in Utah, Davis and Weber counties.  Park City’s distribution took a serious dip, down 15.4%.

If trends continue, expect the first month of the new quarter, June’s distribution for April sales to pick up.

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