Sales of more than $566 million in December pushed 2011 total retail activity to $5.34 billion — the second highest year on record after 2008. December sales were the highest recorded for any December, with the final tally for all of 2011 reflecting a 10.9 percent increase over 2010.

“The 2011 holiday shopping season did not disappoint, and total retail sales easily reached the $5.3 billion LEDA forecasted,” says Gregg Gothreaux, president and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. “Steady sales across all categories reflect the diversity and stability of the economy and the confidence of local consumers to invest in big ticket items.”

Along with retail sales, 2011 hotel/motel receipts outperformed 2010 totals. December hotel/motel receipts totaled $4.24 million, 10.6 percent higher than 2010.

For the year, services, building materials and food were the best performing categories with double digit increases — 12.8 percent, 10.6 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively. All other categories showed increases over 2010, except general merchandise, which is down less than 1 percent.

Following three record years, 2006 to 2008, retail sales slumped 11.6 percent in 2009. The following year began with sales down more than 14 percent, but retailers saw a surge in spending in the second half of the year, and the year ended slightly higher than 2009. That surge continued into 2011, with each month showing higher individual monthly sales than in 2010.

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