Retail sales in Bloomington for the first half of this year were not as bright as in 2012. Sales dropped just under 2% for the first six months of the year. The town of Normal is up close to 7.5%, Justine Robinson, the Bloomington's Economic Development Coordinator calls the decline part of the normal ebb and flow of the local economy. Last year Bloomington increased occupancy at all its major retail centers. She says this year Normal has taken its turn.
Robinson says after the huge increase in sales in 2012, it would be unreasonable to expect a large percentage increase in Bloomington. She says the city did not give back all the gains, though. 2013 sales so far this year are up more than 10% over the same period in 2011. Robinson says manufacturing and the drinking and eating sectors saw eight to nine percent growth. The steepest decline came with a nearly 21% drop in Furniture and Household sales. Robinson attributes that drop to increased competition in East Peoria, Normal, and Springfield.
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