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Manteca consumer spending up 3.6%
People spent $19.9M eating out in 3Q of 2011
Consumers are spending more at Manteca retailers and restaurants. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Manteca consumer spending is up across the board with two exceptions as municipal sales tax receipts increased 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2011.

Manteca retail outlets rang up $194.2 million in sales during July, August, and September of 2011. That compares to $187.4 million during the same three months of 2010. The $6.8 million jump in sales tax means $68,000 more going into the city’s general fund and $34,000 in additional Measure M public safety tax receipts for hiring police and fire personnel.

Every category except general merchandise and clothing stories registered gains that were at a higher clip than the rate of inflation. General merchandise stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Kmart declined $1 million to $39.6 million. Clothing stores such as Kohl’s and other specialty shops dropped $14,000 to $6,175,000.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign is the fact food service and drinking sales in Manteca continue to grow. There were 150 such outlets in the third quarter of 2010 with sales of $18.9 million. In the same three months of 2011, there were 155 outlets classified as food services and drinking places with $19.9 million in receipts.

Economists indicate that dining out is one of the first areas that consumers cutback on in hard times.

Manteca consumers for the past six years have increased their annual dining out expenditures. Part of that is fueled by out-of-town visitors who attend games at the Big League Dreams sports complex.

The sales tax data compiled by the state Board of Equalization was released last week. Due to the auditing required and various temporary holds on local sales tax receipts engineered in earlier efforts by the California Legislature to balance the state budget, it can take close to 18 months for final sales tax figures to be released.

The third quarter 2011 figures do not reflect additional Manteca retailers that have opened recently including Burlington Coat Factory, Banana Republic, and Dollar General.

Sales tax is critical to Manteca’s general fund. The general fund is what pays for day-to-day municipal services such as police, fire, parks, streets, and general government. Sales and property taxes are the biggest sources of general fund revenue.