Monday, January 11, 2010

2009…THIS WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS! Retail Sales in the Rio Grande Valley By: Mike Blum

Retail Sales in the Rio Grande Valley

By: Mike Blum  
NAI Rio Grande Valley
Click Here for Full Report

Photo: Mike Blum, Broker and Managing Partner for NAI Rio Grande Valley

By the time you are reading this post, 2009 will be a far-away memory. Another decade has begun. And while we all hope for a better economy, more jobs, improved living conditions, and peace in the world, it is always good to reflect on where we have been so we can measure where we are going and how to manage things when we get there.

From a retail sales standpoint, 2009 was a fairly good year for the Rio Grande Valley. Retail sales tax collected in Valley cities exceeded $179 million as compared to $189 million in the previous year. While this was a 5.1% decline from the previous year, it reflects a still vibrant retail economy valley wide. These taxes were collected on roughly $10.3 billion in retail sales that are subject to tax.

The absorption of sales tax collections were materially different in 2009 vs 2008 as new store openings across the valley caused a shift in where sales occurred. For example:

• The City of Mercedes experienced a 6% increase in sales tax collections, a direct result of new store openings at the Chelsea Outlet Mall.

• The small community of Penitas had a 67% increase. A true reflection of the impact a new Super Wal-Mart store can have on a small community.

• The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg has continued to add retailers attracting shoppers to its location.

• In 2010 the absorption of sales tax dollars is predicted to shift to Weslaco even more when the new JC Penny and Lowes stores’ sales tax are taken into account. This shift will mostly be felt in McAllen and Harlingen as customers will have a more convenient option to major retailers.

Declines in bridge crossings and housing starts, valley wide have also contributed to the 2009 decline in sales tax collections. However, with the opening of the Anzalduas International Bridge in McAllen/Mission future sales tax collections valley wide are predicted to increase. The new international bridge will reduce travel time for Mexico shoppers by 45 minutes and offers a more direct corridor that leads them directly to several shopping destinations with national tenants.

Now another way to appreciate the unique nature of the Valley’s retail economy is to understand how we compare with other markets. The following table shows the Sales and Use Tax Comparison Report for the top 20 Cities in Texas ranked by 2008 population.

McAllen, on its own, ranked 14th on the Report, 12th in Sales Tax Collections. More importantly, 3rd Per Capita and Per Household sales tax collections (total sales tax collected/total population or households). This confirms despite the current economy, Valley residents continue to spend on retail goods. Moreover, it reinforces just how crucial Mexico shoppers are to our economy...

Click Here to View Chart

McAllen MSA posts highest annual growth rate in 2009

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Rio Grande Valley Region better understood in Asia

H.E.B. to open new store in San Benito, renovate other Valley stores

H.E.B. to open new store in San Benito, renovate other Valley stores

January 06, 2010 6:36 PM
Sean Gaffney
The Monitor
Photo:Nathan Lambrecht

SAN BENITO — Supermarket giant H.E.B. plans to launch a new San Benito store in 2010 as part of a statewide expansion that includes 13 new stores, the San Antonio-based grocer said Wednesday.

H.E. Butt Grocery Co. also expects to renovate 60 existing stores and to build a new distribution center in Temple. The nation’s 12th-largest grocery chain said the expansion and remodeling would create 5,000 jobs across Texas.

While H.E.B. would not disclose a location for its new San Benito store, the grocery company in 2005 bought the 14-acre site of the Resaca Gardens housing project, Arnold Padilla, executive director of the San Benito Public Housing Authority, said Wednesday.

Of the 60 stores to be renovated, some will be in the Rio Grande Valley, but H.E.B. said it’s not certain yet which locations will get makeovers.

H.E.B. has also dropped prices on more than 5,000 items its stores stock. Bruce Courtney, director of research for Kantar Retail, a consulting firm, said grocers like H.E.B. are cutting prices on popular products to...

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McAllen MSA posts highest annual growth rate in 2009

TWC: McAllen MSA posts highest annual growth rate in 2009

January 4th, 2010 No comments A recent report from the Texas Workforce Commission indicates that the McAllen MSA has 9,300 jobs, followed by the Dallas-Plano-Irving area

with 7,200 jobs. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA posted the highest percentage of over-the-month growth with 1.0 percent.

Overall, the annual growth rate for total nonagricultural employment decreased throughout Texas; however, the McAllen MSA maintained a positive and the highest annual growth rate of 1.2 percent. Recently, numerous outlets have featured the McAllen MSA has one of the top metros for growth in employment and small business opportunities. See all of the recent rankings here.

View the full Texas Workforce Commission Report by clicking here.

Anzalduas International Bridge closed for inauguration today

Anzalduas International Bridge closed for inauguration today

Martha L. Hernández
The Monitor
January 09, 2010 12:19 AM

NEAR GRANJENO — The Rio Grande Valley’s newest international bridge will be temporarily closed starting Sunday afternoon in preparation for a grand opening ceremony the following day, according to federal authorities.

The ceremony comes four weeks after the Dec. 15 “soft” opening of the Anzalduas International Bridge, which links Reynosa and Mission.

In preparation for the bridge’s inauguration, the crossing will be closed to northbound and southbound traffic starting at 4 p.m. Sunday. It is slated to re-open at 4 p.m. Monday.

Local authorities tried in vain to secure President Barack Obama’s attendance for the grand opening. Mexican officials, meanwhile, are hosting their own ceremony on the southern side of the span but have yet to confirm whether Mexican President Felipe Calderon will take part in the occasion.

Obama will be represented at the grand opening by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the only Texan in his Cabinet. A former legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and former chair of the Texas General Services Commission, Kirk serves as the president's principal adviser, negotiator and spokesman on trade issues.

Also attending the event will be U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual, U.S. General Services Administration Acting Administrator Stephen Leeds, U.S. Consul General Michael Barkin, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Executive Director for Mission Support David Morrell and local authorities of Hidalgo, McAllen and Mission.

Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa is the highest-level Mexican official confirmed to attend.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security...

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