After climbing steadily since 2002, retail sales slid 11.61 percent last year, falling from $5.4 billion in 2008 to $4.8 billion. December 2009’s $466 million in sales represents a 14 percent drop from December 2008.
Unlike much of the rest of the country, which suffered declining retail sales when the economy took a dive in 2008, Lafayette Parish’s taxable sales increased 3 percent in 2008. Just about everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief at the slight uptick in this barometer of economic activity, but the optimism quickly faded, as the decline of 2009 was right around the corner. When January’s totals came in, they were down 6 percent. And while February bounced up ever so slightly, same month sales comparisons consistently showed declines through the remainder of the year. The biggest disappointment came in October 2009, which plummeted $97 million, or 21 percent, from October 2008.
Though certainly unrealistic to believe the parish’s record-breaking retail sales streak could continue, the decline is cause for concern. But it certainly is no reason to panic, as the 2009 total is right up there with 2005's sales, a big year of growth even before hurricanes Katrina and Rita brought an influx of shoppers to the area and federal incentives that spurred a construction boom and sent retail sales beyond the $5 billion mark for the first time. "I'm not going to pretend that it's as good as it was, but this is on pace with pre-hurricane years," says LEDA's Gregg Gothreaux. "You don't build your business plan based on your best year. You build your business plan based on indicators for the past five years, more if you can," he adds.
"Obviously the boom has curtailed, and we're feeling the results of the national recession and what's going on in Washington. It's certainly affecting the oil and gas industry — they're waiting on Washington's attitude toward the energy business," Gothreaux continues. "The one thing business can't handle is uncertainty. That holds true not just for the oil and gas industry but for all businesses."
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,312 from the previous week's total of 2,543. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,627.
The hip little River Ranch shop will open in the Acadiana Center for the Arts in time for the September ArtWalk.
Lafayette’s first-ever Whole Foods Market will open its doors in September.
"Although the administration is moving forward with climate change regulations at home, we don't consider how policy decisions in the United States impact greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world," says Roger Martella, the former general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.
Louisiana agriculture officials say prices for long-grain rice are projected to drop this year.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending July 19 decreased from the previous week's total.
A judge is getting ready to set a new trial date for a former BP executive charged with obstructing a congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Midsouth Bank has released its second quarter earnings report, showing a year-over-year increase for shareholders.
The parent of Investar Bank says its second-quarter earnings fell to $1.1 million or 26 cents a share from $1.7 million of 44 cents a share in the same period a year ago.
1,554 rigs were exploring for oil and 315 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,770 active rigs.
Most personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage when people charge money to drive others in their personal vehicles.
Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier.
Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opens on Johnston.
Acadiana's Top 50 Private Companies
It would be an understatement to say Schumacher Group had a challenging year in 2013.
Hampton Toyota has been serving Acadiana as the premier Toyota dealership for more than 10 years. And now, the glossy Johnston Street dealership is looking forward to a makeover.
Even when Floyd Degueyter is on “vacation” he’s hard at work.
As the second largest metal heat treating company in the country, Analytic Stress Relieving Inc. has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 1979.
When the Prohibition era came to an end in 1933, Joseph R. Streva saw an opportunity to make a little extra money to supplement his day job.
When a hurricane hits, Brent Mouton doesn’t run. The convenience store chain owner is proof that the challenges of mother nature can almost break a business, but Mouton learned to grow out of temporary closure from near devastation in 2002 and of lost potential revenue.
By launching a Super PAC to end all Super PACs, our Top 50 keynote speaker hopes to change the game in Washington.
Oil Center-based private facility extends its offerings with special events venue in failed women’s store.
One year later, is his expansion plan paying off?
Newspaper industry insiders question John Georges’ expansion plan.