Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Retail Sales Escalate; Apparel Trade Strong

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Retail Sales Escalate; Apparel Trade Strong

Article excerpt

Oklahoma City's retail sales soared in June, contributing to a healthy gain for the first six months of the year, according to number-crunchers at the University of Oklahoma.

With a 12 percent upswing, June's sales zoomed to $560.6 million, compared to $500.5 million for the same month a year ago. That jump bolstered the city's six-month figures, which grew by 5.5 percent compared to 1997, says OU's Center for Economic and Management Research.

Sales for the Oklahoma City metro area -- a six-county region - - grew by 10.6 percent from the previous year and are up by 5.9 percent from January to June.

While month-to-month changes can be volatile and misleading, says CEMR Director Robert Dauffenbach, the six-month figures provide strong evidence that positive economic trends will continue for Oklahoma City.

The Tulsa region also had a winning performance, with the five- county metro area up 10.4 percent in June and 8.9 percent for the first six months. The City of Tulsa scored a 10.9 percent gain in June, reaching $519.1 million in taxable sales. For the first six months of `98, Tulsa is 9.2 percent ahead of year earlier figures, the CEMR report shows.

The biggest boost was in apparel sales. For the state, that sector surged 10.67 percent during the first six month's of this year.

Shelley Coleman-Cox, part owner of Cayman's Clothiers in Norman, is taking full advantage.

"Women's is on fire. Men's is on fire. It's just unbelievable," she says. A booming economy plus the rampant retail growth on Norman's west side have helped hike Coleman-Cox's sales 17 percent for June and about 10 percent for the year's first half.

Oklahomans are spending more on eating and drinking as well, Dauffenbach says, with numbers for those retailers up 6.03 percent for January-June of `98 compared to the first half of `97.

Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler owner Rick Haynes estimates that sales for his five-store Oklahoma City company are up about 12 percent.

"I think everyone right now has more disposable income," he says. …

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