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Retailers have good December

Sales tax numbers released this week show that December was a good month for retail.

City and county sales tax collections in January (based on December sales) were up in Andalusia, Opp and the county. Only Florala showed declining sales tax revenues.

Andalusia collections showed the largest percentage increase. January collections for December sales were up 8.5 percent over the same period last year, or $37,306 more than in 2009.

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson said high praise for local retailers and shoppers.

“Our local merchants and retailers have done an outstanding job in attracting shoppers,” he said. “I commend our residents and those in our shopping retail area. When you stay here, in Andalusia, to shop, you are helping us pay the bills.”

Year to date, through the fourth collection month of the current fiscal year, sales tax collections are up 6.75 percent in Andalusia when compared to last year.

Covington County collected 7 percent more in sales taxes in January for December sales when compared to the same period in 2009, or $46,115 more than last year. Overall, collections are up 1.92 percent year to date.

While Opp’s sales tax collections are down 5.84 percent year to date, the trend improved in January, when collections improved 2.7 percent over the same period last year, a difference of $4,394.

But in Florala, city clerk Kathy Rathel said the town has been hit hard by the economy.

“It’s not a large decrease every month, but it adds up,” she said.

Collections were down a little more than 15 percent from last year in January, or a decrease of $5,589. Year to date, collections are down 6.5 percent, she said.