Consumers spent more money in July as stimulus checks hit their bank accounts and retail began to reopen. The four largest cities in Northwest Arkansas reported a combined 14.95% jump in sales tax revenue from sales generated in July, compared with the same month of 2019.
The September report – which provides data on July transactions – pegged revenue at $7.188 million for the four cities, the best results on record for the month and up from the 3.39% increase reported last month.
Bentonville had the largest gains with revenue totaling $1.881 million, up 44.67% from the year-ago period. The results reversed a downward trend for the prior three months. Though Bentonville has experienced more month-to-month volatility this year than its peers, sales tax revenue is up 6.86% year-to-date through the September report. Sales tax revenue through July totals $12.086 million, up compared with $11.31 million reported in the same period of 2019.
Springdale revenue rose 16.14% from the year-ago period. The city reported sales tax revenue of $1.544 million in the September report, the best on record for the month. The strong results came on the heels of a 16.51% gain reported in August. Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said the city is finally benefiting from the collection of sales tax for online orders. He said COVID-19 has kept more folks shopping locally and ordering online. He’s pleased with the results and said the city is in solid fiscal shape.
Springdale reports total revenue to date through July at $12.669 million, up 9.16% compared with $11.605 million in the year-ago period.
Fayetteville had a solid month with sales tax revenue rising 5.63% in the September report. Revenue totaled $2.006 million for the month, and it was the third time this year the city crossed the $2 million threshold. At $17.275 million in sales tax revenue reported through July, Fayetteville has seen a 3.21% uptick in revenue this year, which is below the city’s goal of 4% to 5% growth.
Rogers is having the toughest year with revenue growth as much of the city’s retail base was closed in the midst of COVID-19 this spring. While many stores have reopened, the city has also experienced a number of permanent closures such as Stein Mart and Gordman’s.
Rogers has sales tax revenue of $1.741 million in the September report, up 1.76% from the year-ago period. The low growth comes on the heels of a 1.22% gain in August and three months of declines prior to that. The city has also paid $941,453 in rebates so far this year, which has hurt overall revenue results.
Year-to-date revenue through July is $15.314 million, up 1.98% compared with the same period in 2019.