Heat may have cooled July sales

By The Mercury

Maybe it was all the 100 degree weather. Whatever the cause, a string of 10 consecutive months of improved sales activity here ended during July, according to data released Friday by the city.

The monthly sales tax report showed that the city received $736,335 in sales tax revenue during September, about $55,000 less than during the same period a year ago. Due to reporting and processing delays, the September figures represent sales activity during July.

It was the first month since October of 2011 when sales activity failed to exceed the total for the previous month.

Despite the relative slowdown, sales activity for the year to date remained well ahead of the previous year’s pace. The city has collected $7.8 million in sales tax revenue through the first nine months of the year, about 7.6 percent more than during the comparable period in 2011.

The city collections are $423,000 ahead of the budgeted projection thus far.

Bernie Hayen, the city’s finance director, said there is some evidence that the decline this month may be attributable to some merchants making early sales tax remittances last month, which would also explain why the city’s August receipts were abnormally high. At the same time, he noted that the extremely hot July weather may have suppressed sales activity. Hayen said most of the larger community retailers, including auto dealers, reported remittances that were down from 3 to 10 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

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