SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls Financial Director Shawn Pritchett noted a few unusual changes in industry sales tax transactions for the November financial report. Pritchett gave the report at the Dec. 15 city informational meeting.
The November receipts are based on transactions in October.
Pritchett noted that remote sales receipts were down by 18% or $3.2 million for October compared to 2019 and down from September’s $6.2 million or 34% increase.
“Miscellaneous retail sales grew this month…by $6 million over the prior month,” Pritchett said growth in that area was unusual as well as the decline in remote retail sales.
“I guess I was a little perplexed when I saw the remote sales numbers,” council member Greg Neitzert said.
Remote retail sales have been strong in the Sioux Falls area as well as in South Dakota during the pandemic. Analysts have projected strong remote retail growth for this fall and for the holiday shopping season.
According to CNN Business, Americans spent $100 billion on ecommerce transactions through Nov. 30. They spent $68 billion through Nov. 30, 2019.
Pritchett said if the downward decline continues next month, it would require more investigation.
Shoppers appear to returning to retail and general merchandise stores as a 9% gain or a $5.8 million change was reported for October transactions. That follows a gain of 10% or $6.3 million in September. Transactions were down by 1% in August.
Another shift in sales receipts was in lumber, hardware and garden supplies. Transactions dropped by 18% in that category after posting increases in August and September. The decline totaled $2.4 million.
Pritchett said the decline was likely because people had finished home improvement and related projects.
Overall, the city’s rolling average of sales tax receipts was down by .5% in November over 12 months.
Although the receipts are still less than in 2019, they have improved considerably since a 13% decline for May over May 2019.
Still, Pritchett said city had very strong growth in retail sales in November and December of 2019.
It’s unlikely the city will reach those numbers this year, he said. Because of the the growth in 2019 and the increase in COVID-19 numbers in November a decline in receipts compared to last year is expected in December, Pritchett said. Hopefully, the numbers rebound in early 2021, Pritchett said.