Area retail venues were busier in January posting a healthy 16.32% increase in sales tax collections among the region’s five largest retail markets. The revenue boost from the prior year has city planners ahead of budget and off to a strong start in 2012.
The cities of Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and Siloam Springs together reported $4.162 million in sales tax collections . A year ago, the same cities collected $3.578 million.
March’s tax revenue reflects January sales remitted to the state in February, creating a two-month lag in the city reporting. Each of the five cities collect a 2% sales tax which is divided evenly between the cities’ general operating fund and the repayment of bonds. This report tracks the city’s portion, or 1% of the tax collected.
All five cities surveyed saw increases in recent tax revenue.
2012 TAX COLLECTIONS (March)
(Data represents a 1% sales tax, compared to prior year period.)
Bentonville: $893,281, up 53.3%
Fayetteville: $1.304 million, up 9.72%
Rogers: $926,597, up 9.05%
Siloam Springs: $226,130, down 3.5%
Springdale: $812,080, up 9.91%
Source: Respective cities.
Bill Mathews, franchise owner of more than 30 McDonald’s restaurants in Northwest Arkansas, reports a nice start to 2012 with heavier store traffic through what is typically cold winter months.
He and other restaurant owners attribute the revenue upticks to improving consumer confidence and exceptionally warm weather.
Higher gas prices are the one wildcard that could derail consumer spending habits in the short-term, said Tom Reed, analyst with Streetsmart Data in Fayetteville.
Of the cities reporting, Bentonville again showed the largest gain, pocketing an additional $310,808 over the collections in the prior year. City officials attribute the added revenue stream to additional traffic Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art continues to generate.
Daniel Hintz, executive director for Downtown Bentonville Inc., said the city has welcomed six new restaurants in its downtown area in the past year along with a smattering of new retail venues, many of which cater to the art experience.
Hintz said weekday traffic downtown has always been good thanks to working professionals, but it’s now spilling over to the early evening and weekends because of the new businesses and added visitors drawn to art.
CUMULATIVE TAX COLLECTIONS
2012: $1.903 million
2011: $1.306 million
2012: $2.966 million
2011: $2.816 million
2012: $2.231 million
2011: $2.085 million
2012: $1.719 million
2011: $1.572 million