Consumers are a fickle group and their spending habits have been all over the place in recent months, sending sales tax revenue on a roller coaster ride through much of the year. Sales tax revenue rebounded in the November report among the four largest Northwest Arkansas cities.
Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale reported combined sales tax revenue of $7.021 million in the November reports, up 8.99% from the year-ago period. The November report is down 2.14% compared with the October report and up 14.95% compared with the September report.
The November report reflects sales tax collected by the cities in September, creating a two-month lag in the reporting. This report also reflects 1% of the local sales tax each city collects that goes into their overall budget.
Bentonville showed the biggest growth in the November report with revenue up 17.29% from a year ago. Revenue totaled $1.491 million, compared to $1.271 million in the same period last year. Bentonville does not have as much brick-and-mortar retail as neighboring Rogers, but with the rise in online spending, the playing field has leveled for areas like Springdale and Bentonville, which tend to concede sales to Rogers and Fayetteville, the two major retail shopping areas in the region.
Bentonville has year-to-date revenue of $15.012 million, up 2.11% compared with $14.315 million in the same period last year.
Rogers sales tax revenue reported in November totaled $1,841 million, up 3.34% from a year ago. This reversed the 4.38% drop reported in October and is better than the modest 1.76% and 1.22% growth reported in September and August. Rogers continues to see commercial building in the Pinnacle Hills area, while much of the finished mixed-used space has yet to be leased. The city also has incurred rebates of $1.128 million through last month that has reduced total revenue this year. The city budgeted $19.9 million for the year and is close to that with $18.832 million collected this year. Year-to-date revenue is 1.52% over the same period last year.
Springdale saw its sales tax revenue rise 9.44% in November to $1.561 million. This built on the 4.45% growth in October and the robust 16.14% jump in September. The November report marks the highest monthly revenue the city has seen this year. Year-to-date the city has sales tax revenue of $15.712 million, up 8.72% this year from the $14.451 million reported a year ago. If the trend holds through December, Springdale will have seen the highest growth in sales tax revenue this year among its peer cities.
Fayetteville reported robust 8.32% revenue growth in the November report at $1.128 million compared to a year ago. The city has seen its sales tax revenue growth stabilize in recent months with an 8.11% reported last month building on 5.63% and 7.51% growth in September and August. City leaders in Fayetteville have been bullish on growth but as COVID-19 gripped the region and the University of Arkansas became a virtual campus in the spring, the city saw revenue fall 11.3% in June, its low point this year.
Fayetteville reports year-to-date sales tax revenue of $21.564 million, up 4.17% compared with $20.699 million in the same period of 2019.