First-Half Retail Trade Totals $3.173 Billion

Article excerpt

sharp increase in the price of gasoline shaped Oklahoma retail trade figures for the first half of 1989, said an economist with the University of Oklahoma.

Retail trade in Oklahoma City for the first six months of 1989 totaled $3.173 billion, virtually unchanged from $3.174 billion for the same period of 1988, according to figures compiled by the OU Center for Economic and Management Research.

The story was similar for Tulsa sales, which were down 0.9 percent, and statewide, where sales rose 0.3 percent.

"Apparently, the first half of 1988 was a big period for auto sales, and it was unreasonable to expect a repeat, or even better, sales for this year," said David Penn, assistant director at the center.

Auto sales volume in Oklahoma for the first six months totaled $2.1 billion, down 10.4 percent from $2.38 billion for the same period of 1988, the center reported. In Oklahoma City, sales dipped 11.4 percent to $787.1 million from $888.64 million during the year-ago period. Tulsa auto sales were down by the same percentage to $457.98 million from $517.07 million during the 1988 first half.

However, auto sales showed overall improvement in June, compared to May. Oklahoma City auto sales of $124.3 million were up 2.4 percent from $121.3 million.

Statewide, sales were up 2.1 percent to $339.39 million, compared to $332.46 million in May. Tulsa auto sales rose 2.4 percent to $72.3 million from $70.6 million in May.

Meanwhile, Penn said a 21 percent increase in the price per gallon of gasoline drove trade figures for the service station sector up to the tune of more than 9 percent.

Service station trade statewide was up 9.3 percent for the first half of 1989, to $364.98 million from $334.06 million one year earlier. Oklahoma City and Tulsa both showed gains of 9.2 percent in that trade category.

Generally, Penn said that despite overall flat sales for the six months, June retail trade showed a significant, seasonally-adjusted increase compared to May.

It was only the third such increase this year, he said.

For the rest of the year, Penn said an "intuitive guess" is for an improved outlook.

"So far this year, we've seen a small decline in the state and just about break-even for the Oklahoma City metro area," he said.

"I think the second half of the year's going to be better."

Penn said uncertainty about the national economy could have contributed to the lackadaisical first-half showing. He said the picture for the national economy should clear up during the next six months.

Here are other highlights from the report:

- Oklahoma City's June retail trade figure of $532.9 million was up 2.8 percent from $518.19 million in May.

- Statewide, retail sales totaled $6.96 billion for the first half of 1989, up 0.3 percent from $6.93 billion for the 1988 first half. June sales totaled $1.39 billion, which was a 4.1 percent improvement from $1. …