Retail sales are but one barometer of an area’s economic health, but they’re a key indicator. And retail sales in Lafayette Parish are poised to handily beat 2009 and 2010’s numbers — likely leaving the record set in 2008 in tact. So far this year, retail sales are 10.8 percent higher than at this time last year.

Activity for September totaled $468 million, an increase of 11.4 percent over September last year, when $420 million in goods and services were sold.

LEDA’s forecasting model shows that retail activity will total about $5.33 billion, about $44 million more than last year. If achieved, that total would be the second best year ever.

September hotel/motel receipts totaled $5.14 million, an increase of 2.8 percent over September of 2010’s $5 million. LEDA notes that hotel/motel receipts are outperforming 2010, as year-to-date receipts are 12.9 percent higher than the same period in 2010.

A breakdown shows that general merchandise is the only category that is not outperforming 2010; it’s down 2.1 percent to $873 million. Food is up 10.3 percent to $612 million, apparel 6.1 percent to $147 million, auto 8.6 percent to $313 million, furniture 2.3 percent to $187 million, building materials 8.8 percent to $325 million, service 6.4 percent to $211 million and the “other” category 9.8 percent to $199 million.

Albeit by a very small margin, Lafayette Parish retail sales in 2010 beat 2009 when they reached above the $4.8 billion mark.

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