Lafayette Parish retail sales got off to a rough start this year, falling more than 14 percent during the first two months and almost 11 percent in March, compared with the first three months of 2009. But they may be staging a comeback. April’s sales in the parish were $395.71 million, which means the year-to-date figure is now off by 8.55 percent. So far, it’s an improvement after last year’s 11.61 percent slide — retail sales in 2009 were $4.8 billion compared with $5.4 billion in 2008.

Those sales reductions mean less tax money for local government­­ — for both capital funds and the general fund.

Some slight improvement is also being seen in hotel-motel receipts, which are down 18.42 percent, after falling 28 percent in January and staying down year-to-date by about 21 percent in both February and March. Monthly hotel receipts in April were $5.3 million, compared with $5 million in March, $4.8 million in February and $4.1 million in January.

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