Retail sales in Lafayette Parish seem to be slowly crawling out of a two-year decline, according to sales figures released Tuesday.
Sales for September, October and November were up when compared with the same months in 2015, ending a downward trend that began soon after oil prices tanked in the summer of 2014.
Year-to-date sales in 2016 compared with 2015 were still down 4.4 percent at the close of November, the most recent numbers that are available because reporting lags by several weeks.
But November retail sales were up by nearly 3 percent in Lafayette Parish when compared with November 2015, the third month in a row to post a gain over the prior year, according to a figures released Tuesday by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.
The gains were not felt evenly.
Youngsville showed the strongest rebound in November, with sales 20 percent above November 2015.
Scott posted a 12 percent gain for November and was the only municipality in the parish to see year-to-date numbers above 2015, though by only 1 percent.
Scott Mayor Purvis Morrison said the city's sale tax revenue fell sharply when Acadiana's oil-fueled economy faltered, but business seems to be stabilizing.
"It looks like it's mellowing out a bit," he said. "We have seen things start to pick up."
The city of Lafayette's November 2016 retail sales were about 1 percent better than November 2015, and Carencro was up by nearly 3 percent. Broussard and Duson's November figures were down.
“November sales continue to reflect modest increases connected to flood recovery— particularly sales in the furniture stores and building material stores subcategories in the City of Lafayette, with 28.4% and 15.4% increases," LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux said in a written statement.
Along with gains possibly linked to flood recovery, there has been a big boost in the food category, which accounts for roughly a fifth of all retail sales in the parish.
The food category includes such businesses as bars, restaurants, meat markets and bakeries, but the strongest performer in that sector has been grocery stores in the city of Lafayette, which are up 21 percent year-to-date, with $227 million as of November 2016 compared to $188 million for the same period in 2015.