Interstate 11 opens next month on August 9th. It’s a constant topic of conversation, speculation and even worry by many of us in town. Some can’t wait for the traffic and noise of trucks headed into and out of Las Vegas to be gone. Others worry about the fate and strength of our local businesses, especially down on the Boulder City Parkway corridor. Regardless, the day has come – it’s here in just a few short weeks.
So when we heard about a recent report The City had done on Retail Leakage and Surplus in Boulder City and our surrounding area, we had to get our hands on it. We’ve got the full report for you HERE, but we’ll also hit some of the highlights below.
Now, bear with us, as we know we’re going to get a little geeked-out on the numbers, but this is important, so let’s buckle down. First, a few definitions:
Retail Leakage means we as Boulder City residents are buying outside of our BC community.
Retail Surplus means Boulder City businesses are capturing not only our purchases, but are also getting purchases from people coming into our city.
The numbers are surprising. According to the analysis done by the Buxton Company (hired by the city as an industry leader in retail analytics) we have a Retail Leakage of $87 million across all retail sectors! That’s roughly $5,500 per person, per year.
Let’s take a look at some of this summary data here:
Interpreting Leakage Index
1.0 = equilibrium, meaning that demand and sales in the area being analyzed are in balance.
.80 = demand exceeds sales by 20%, meaning that consumers are leaving the area being analyzed.
1.2 = sales exceed demand by 20%, meaning that consumers are coming from outside the area being analyzed.
Some of this is obvious. Here’s a list of big ticket items we simply cannot buy at retail here in town because there’s no retail outlet: a big screen TV, home appliances, a new bed and mattress, a new car, men’s dress shoes, electronics, sporting goods, and on it goes.
But note the Retail Surplus areas: Misc. Store Retailers, Clothing and Accessories and interestingly enough, Food & Beverage. Yep – that’s our grocery store showing a small surplus. Meaning according to this, we don’t currently show enough local demand, but maybe we have outsiders shopping with us (such as boaters headed out to Lake Mead). Yet we see from some of the commentary recently on social media, that a lot of us who live here are buying groceries elsewhere, so that’s kind of an interesting stat, isn’t it?
Regarding the Retail Leakage items, we don’t really think anyone is clamoring to have a Home Depot, a Walmart or an Auto Mall built here in town. But think on this, there is a heck of lot of money going out of Boulder City, rather than being spent here.
Michael Mays, the Community Development Director, says we don’t need to be getting all $87 million back into the city, after all, we are only 15,689 folks, (2016 data). But he says, “This report does suggest other retail categories identified as leakage (e.g. Convenience Stores, Drug Stores, Auto Parts) could be the basis for future retail attraction efforts. The City can use this study to help demonstrate market demand to potential retailers.”
But in the meantime, what can we do? Well, it’s more important than ever to shop local. I need a new coffee table. Instead of heading to RC Willey, maybe I need to first check out some of our antique and used furniture stores. It will take more time, but it might be worth it in the end.
Need to buy a gift? We’ve got lots of great places to choose from for unique and special items you can buy from locally. Looking to remodel your bath or kitchen? Remember we have a design store who can order tiles for you and help arrange for contractors and keep as much of what you buy locally, where possible.
And here is one more final thought. Brick and mortar retail continues to lose traction compared to online shopping. This week we came across this sobering article that shows Amazon now has 49% of the US e-commerce market and accounts for 5% of ALL retail sales in the US! I’m a Prime member, aren’t you? The bottom line is that our local merchants need us more than ever.
There are more studies coming too. City Manager Al Noyola shared with me one super interesting study they will be doing to track purchasing behavior via actual credit card data. Meaning they’ll be able to see credit card data on purchases locally and know the zip code of where the cardholder lives! Can’t wait to share that and more info from The City as we get it.