Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Retail Sales for January Increase in Oklahoma

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Retail Sales for January Increase in Oklahoma

Article excerpt

HOUSTON _ Retail sales in Oklahoma for January were up 6.6 percent from January 1993, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services Inc., a Houston-based check acceptance company.

TeleCheck's index, which is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the total dollar volume of checks written by consumers, showed sales were down 0.4 percent nationwide from January 1993.

"January's flat sales can in large part be attributed to three major factors," said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck's senior economic advisor. "The Los Angeles basin, which accounts for over 5 percent of the nation's purchasing power, was severely affected by the Jan. 17 earthquake, with sales dropping 6.8 percent.

"Most of the upper Midwest, the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic was impacted by record-setting low temperatures and snowstorms, creating major disruptions and causing consumers to concentrate their shopping at major malls or to do only emergency shopping. Southern Florida's low numbers continue to compare unfavorably to aggressive post-Hurricane Andrew spending last year.

"We do not expect to see this level of weak retail spending to continue, however, because of the generally positive momentum of the economy and the strong earthquake recovery spending we expect to see in the Los Angeles area. Also, consumers in other weather-impacted areas of the U.S. probably will do some catch-up spending in February."

Ford holds the Weatherford Chair of Finance at Middle Tennessee State University. Earlier in his career, he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and served on former Fed Chairman Paul Volker's Federal Open Market Committee.

By region, the Southwest led with a 4 percent increase with the sharpest increase for states in the area being the 6.6 percent in Oklahoma. Sales were up 4.7 percent in Missouri and 4.1 percent in Texas. St. Louis posted a 13.5 percent increase while Kansas City recorded only a 2 percent gain. In Texas, sales were up 7 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth, up 4.3 percent in Houston and down 0.9 percent in San Antonio-Austin. …

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