Consumers appear to have been in a buying mood during the past summer season, according to the latest figures from the Kenai Peninsula Borough Division of Community and Economic Development.
In the division's latest "Quarterly Report of Key Economic Indicators," which analyzed third-quarter data, overall gross sales grew 9.2 percent (from $622.7 million to $680 million), with retail sales leading the way with a rise of better than 10.5 percent over similar figures for 2003 from $201 million to $222 million.
Meanwhile, taxable sales in the retail sector rose a healthy 9.3 percent, from $138.6 million to $151.5 million.
That number is of particular interest to the budget watchers at the borough because that sector represents 57.2 percent of all taxable sales.
The services sector was the second largest contributor to the jump in taxable sales, rising by 9.8 percent over 2003 third-quarter figures, according to the borough.
Overall, taxable sales from all industry sectors gained 8.2 percent during the third quarter, a gain of $20 million, pushing the total to $264.8 million.
Jeanne Camp, economic analyst with the division, said the numbers show "overall strength in the economy."
She said sales in the city of Kenai were phenomenal.
"Kenai is strongly on the rebound," adding that growth in Kenai did not mean a slowdown in Soldotna. That city showed strong third-quarter numbers, as well, she said.
The city of Kenai saw the greatest percentage increase in third-quarter taxable sales of all incorporated areas 27.5 percent thanks largely to the arrival of Home Depot. Kenai third-quarter taxable sales jumped nearly $9 million over 2003 to $40 million.
Soldotna rang up $65.8 million in taxable sales dollars, the most among incorporated areas. That number represented a 5.1 percent increase over the $62.6 million taken in during third-quarter 2003.
Homer's taxable sales jumped from $45 million to $48.4 million, a 7.3 percent change, while Seward climbed 5.1 percent from $34.7 million to $36.5 million.
Seldovia's sales, modest by comparison, nevertheless grew by 1.5 percent from $1.14 million to $1.16 million.
The borough's unincorporated area saw its third-quarter taxable sales jump to $73 million from last year's $69.9 million, a boost of 4.4 percent.
Retail led the way in all municipal figures, but in the unincorporated area of the borough it was the manufacturing sector that topped the list. That sector, which includes oil and gas extraction and production, grew to $85 million in third-quarter 2004 from $53.3 million in 2003, an increase of nearly 60 percent.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.