Is inflation causing you to spend less? Lafayette business leaders ask you to buy local

William Taylor Potter
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Lafayette Parish had around $671.1 million in retail sales during the month of May — which is the most ever recorded for the month — though the parish seems to be starting to feel the impacts of inflation and rising interest rates.

Adjusted for inflation, the parish had around $619.8 million in sales in May 2021 dollars, which is down slightly from May 2021. The national inflation rate from May 2021 to May 2022 was around 8.6%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mandi Mitchell, the president and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, said inflation will likely force Lafayette Parish consumers to cut back on spending. With consumers spending less, it's important to support local businesses, she said.

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“While some retail spending categories are down, taxable sales remain steady even with inflation beginning to affect local consumer spending decisions,” Mitchell said. “We know local consumers are feeling the pinch of higher gas and food prices; and we hope federal economic leaders are successful in getting inflation under control in the near term.

While we understand and expect local shoppers to hold off on some purchases, we do encourage everyone to be intentional in choosing, when possible, to shop local so that our efforts collectively will continue to elevate Lafayette’s economy."

When adjusted for inflation, most of the municipalities saw their sales totals in May remain consistent with May 2021. The City of Lafayette's sales were roughly $418.4 million in May 2021 dollars, which is down less than 1% from last year. 

Duson's sales were approximately $3.7 million when adjusted to May 2021 dollars, which is an increase of about 2.8%. Scott's adjusted sales totaled $25.4 million in May, up about 3.2%.

Youngsville's adjusted sales were around $34.8 million, an increase of 5.8%. The unincorporated parts of the parish had an adjusted $51.7 million in May, which was down around 3.4% from May 2021.

Carencro and Broussard are the exceptions to the pattern the parish saw in May, but for different reasons. Broussard's sales totaled $58.2 million when adjusted for inflation, which is still about 14% more than the city had in May 2021.

Carencro, on the the other hand, saw its sales drop significantly when accounting for inflation. The city had an adjusted $27.8 million in sales during May, which was a decline of 14.9% from May 2021.

On the year, the parish and most municipalities remain ahead of the pace set by 2021, with sales totaling an unadjusted $3.3 billion on the year, an increase of 8.4% from 2021. Part of that increase is likely the result on inflation, though the parish generally had strong sales numbers in the first part of the year as well.

Within the City of Lafayette, many industries' sales were on par with their May 2021 sales numbers. Food (including restaurants, grocery stores, bars and others), apparel, automotive, and the miscellaneous sales categories were all within 5% of the May 2021 total when adjusted for inflation.

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General merchandise, which includes things like gift shops, department stores, jewelry stores and others, saw sales drop significantly in May. The industry's adjusted sales were around $106.9 million, which is down around 11.1% from May 2021.

Furniture sales, including appliances, hotel supplies, medical supplies and others, also saw sales drop significantly. The sales were around $22.9 million in May 2021 dollars, which is a drop of about 10.9% from last year.

Sales of services — including hotels, laundry services, bowling alleys and others — saw sales drop around 5.1% when adjusted to May 2021 dollars. The sales totaled an adjusted $40.9 million.

The sales of building materials increased significantly from May 2021, even when adjusted for inflation. The adjusted sales totaled around $45.5 million, which is an increase of 12.7%.