Sales tax revenue up 8.8% in August report for four NWA cities

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 366 views 

Sales tax revenue in Northwest Arkansas’ four largest cities rose by 8.8% in the August report compared to the year-ago period. Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale reported cumulative sales tax revenue totaling $6.565 million this month, the highest level for August on record.

Bentonville and Rogers posted the majority of the monthly gain, while revenue was mostly flat in Fayetteville and down in Springdale. Bentonville reported revenue growth of 31.1% for August, with sales tax revenue totaling $1.537 million, the best August on record for the city. While 2019 started off sluggish for Bentonville, sales tax revenue in the past three months posted double-digit gains in each period. That said, through August, Bentonville reports $10.01 million in sales tax revenue, down 17.7% from the record year set in 2018.

Rogers posted sales tax revenue growth of 9.95% in August with total receipts of $1.801 million. Through August the city posted sales tax revenue of $13.304 million, up 4.4% from the $12.743 million reported in the same period last year. Rogers officials said the city is in good shape having met 72% of its annual budget goal in the first eight months of the year.

Top Golf and Salt Grass Steakhouse are on tap to open in early 2020 and in the coming months the city will also welcome a new Jersey Mike’s at 2301 W. Pleasant Grove Road, a Culvers Restaurant at 4202 S. 42nd St., and a Torchy’s Tacos at 500 W. Pauline Whitaker Parkway, according to permit filings with the Arkansas Department of Health

Fayetteville reported sales tax revenue growth of 0.47% in August with total receipts of $1.9 million. Through August, Fayetteville reports sales tax revenue totaling $14.819 million, up 0.59% from a year ago. Tax revenue is tracking mostly flat this year for the city and slightly below budget.

Springdale reported total revenue of $1.319 million in the August report, down 0.28% year-over-year. Through the first eight months of this year, sales tax revenue is $10.264 million, up 3.42% from the same period of 2018.

Each city collects 2% local tax on top of the state sales tax. This report reflects 1% of that local tax that goes into the city’s operational budget. August sales tax revenue reflects sales and services made in June.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE NATIONWIDE
While the overall economy is slowing, the consumer seems to be in good shape according to analysts from Barclays who said spending patterns indicate consumers are willing to make large purchases for their homes while they may not spend as much on apparel.

Consumer confidence ticked higher in June, according to the University of Michigan Sentiment Index. Despite the tariff news consumers remained confident into July with strong labor reports. Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in July consumers are optimistic about business and labor conditions.

“These high levels of confidence should continue to support robust spending in the near-term despite slower growth in GDP,” Franco added.

The two largest retailers in the country also recently reported strong quarterly sales through July. Walmart raised its comp sales guidance for the back half of the year. Target CEO Brian Cornell told the media while there have been concerns in recent weeks that the economy may be slowing, Target hasn’t seen evidence of that.

“From a Target standpoint, we continue to see a very stable and healthy consumer environment,” he said, nodding to lower fuel prices, low unemployment and growing wages. “And I think we’re well-positioned to take advantage of that.”

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