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2011-05-27 16:33:21

Finally some welcome news for the retail sector—sales tax revenues are up 3.9 percent, a sure sign consumer spending is picking up. Furthermore, retail sales are projected to increase by 4.3 percent in 2011 followed by a 5.4 percent increase in 2012, which will push sales to $27.8 billion. The projected $27.8 billion in sales in 2012 is roughly equivalent, in real dollars, to the retail sector’s previous peak year, 2007.

The last few years have been rough for retail. The three consecutive years of declining sales (2008-2010) represents the most severe contraction for the industry in the past 30 years. In the wake of falling sales, retail employment has also suffered. The number of jobs in retail has fallen from 148,750 to 137,700, a decline of 7.4 percent. About one-in-four jobs lost in the retail sector were in auto sales. Another hard hit area was building and garden stores, which lost some 2,000 jobs.

The worst is probably over for most retailers. Upward sales momentum was recorded in the second half of 2010, which should carry through 2011 and beyond as the Utah economy gains strength and the job market continues to improve.

To read the entire report and see the charts and graphs, download the PDF.

Information taken from the April issue of 'UTAH’S ECONOMY' - a monthly report Produced for COMMERCE REAL ESTATE SOLUTIONS by Jim Wood, Bureau of Economic and Business Research University of Utah.

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