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Bloomington retail sales soar

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 13:01:48 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

Retail sales have been relatively flat in Bloomington Normal since the recession until last year. The City of Bloomington is reporting what Economic Development Coordinator Justine Robinson calls a "vibrant turnaround" in 2012 with a nearly 16% increase.

"The most significant gain that we have seen really in decades."

By comparison, Normal, Peoria, and Urbana all had still healthy gains of about 5% in retail sales. There were new businesses that added to the growth, but Robinson says most improvement appeared to come from post recession improvement in Lumber, Hardware and Building, Automotive and gas stations, and in particular - Furniture and Household goods.

"I think that is the resurgence of people investing in their homes, trying to improve what they have. That category was up 66%."

Robinson says the growth will produce an extra $3 million in tax revenue for the city of Bloomington. Total sales tax revenue for the city will top $29.5 million from 2012.

"Still very early in the planning stages. We've just received this information. I know, obviously they're in the budget process right now."

The city faces a huge backlog of street repairs and increasing pension funding pressures, among other needs. Bloomington City Manager David Hales says the October opening of Binny's Beverage Depot in Lakewood Plaza and the coming opening of an Ashley Furniture Homestore in Colonial Plaza should provide a solid foundation for growth moving forward.

Department of Revenue figures sector by sector
General Merchandise: +10.28%
Food: +0.60%
Drinking and Eating Places: +7.77%
Apparel: -15.15%
Furniture and Household: +66.80%
Lumber, Hardware & Building: +16.67%
Automotive and Gas Stations: +30.93%
Drugs & Miscellaneous Retail: +7.69%
Agriculture and All Others: +2.34%
Manufacturers: +2.85%

Performances by City
Bloomington: +15.91%
Peoria: +5.34%
Normal: +5.18%
Urbana: +4.86%
Champaign: +3.09%
Springfield: +2.64%
Rockford: +2.27%
Decatur: -0.23%

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