Posts Tagged ‘Bryan Wachter’

Nevada Retailers Expect $245 Million In Back-To-School Spending, Up 15 Percent Over 2011

By Sean Whaley | 8:45 am August 15th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada retailers and their online counterparts expect to see $245 million in spending on back-to-school merchandise for public school children this year, a 15.4 percent increase over spending levels in 2011, the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN) reported today.

College spending in Nevada is expected to generate another $134 million in what is as the second biggest consumer event for retailers behind the winter holidays, according to the National Retail Federation. The NRF reports that combined K-12 and college spending will reach $83.8 billion this year.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

“Parents want to make sure their kids have everything they need to start the new school year and are willing to spend more than ever on school-related necessities,” said Mary Lau, president of RAN. “However, the economy remains a concern in most households, which will have an impact on the way families shop. Bargain-hunting will remain important to budget-conscious consumers.”

According to the latest survey results from the NRF, families nationwide with children in grades K-12 are expected to spend an average of $689 on clothing, backpacks and other supplies. The latest estimate is a 14.1-percent increase from the estimated $604 spent last year.

According to demographics released by Nielsen Marketplace, there are approximately 1 million households in Nevada, and 34 percent (or 355,000 households) have one or more children in grades K-12. Assuming national trends as reported by the NRF generally hold true for Nevada families, total spending in the state will reach approximately $245 million. Due to an increase in both the count of families with children entering elementary or middle school, and an increase in spending per family, back-to-school spending in the state is expected to increase 15.4 percent compared to last year when total spending was an estimated $212 million.

As for college-bound students, the NRF estimates families will spend an average of $907 on new clothes, dormitory or apartment furniture and other college supplies. Compared to last year’s estimate of $809, college spending is expected to increase 12.2 percent.

Utilizing the latest estimate of Nevada residents who will be enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs within and outside of Nevada in the coming school year released by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, aggregate back-to-school spending on college supplies is expected to increase this year as well. Again, assuming Nevada residents follow national trends, college spending is estimated to reach $134 million, compared to $120 million in 2011.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for RAN, said back-to-school spending is exceeded only by the Christmas holiday season.

“Back-to-school is for a specific purpose, and we feel we can measure it pretty accurately,” he said.

Wachter said clothing and electronics, from calculators to laptops to phones, are the big spending categories.

“Electronics, not quite but almost, total clothing,” he said. “The average person is going to spend about $250 per student on clothing and we’re going to spend about $225 on electronics.”

The spending increase is due in part to some increased confidence among Nevadans that their jobs are more secure, Wachter said.

The Internet is continuing to grow as a preferred shopping “destination” for back-to-school items. Approximately 39.6 percent of consumers will be using the Internet to shop for needed supplies, nearly double the 2007 estimate. That said, discount stores are expected to be the most popular shopping destination, with 67.1 percent of consumers planning to shop there. Department stores followed with 59.9 percent.


Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter of RAN says back-to-school shopping is a huge event for retailers:

081512Wachter1 :15 on back-to-school items.”

Wachter says spending on electronics now nearly equals spending on clothes:

081512Wachter2 :12 $225 on electronics.”

Nevada Posts Double-Digit Gain In Taxable Sales In May, 23rd Consecutive Month Of Increases

By Sean Whaley | 3:02 pm July 27th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada taxable sales jumped by double-digits in May, with consumers purchasing $3.7 billion in goods for a 10.4 percent increase over May 2011, the state Department of Taxation reported today.

Clark County taxable sales were up 10 percent, while Washoe County saw a 4.9 percent gain.

Photo by Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons.

All major taxable sales categories were up in May over May 2011.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the broad increases across all major categories, from vehicles to general merchandise, is especially noteworthy.

“Things are starting to look good,” he said. “Obviously unemployment is still going to be a huge indicator on where people have disposable income, where consumer confidence is going, and the numbers would appear that people are reasonable in making purchases and feel like it.”

The largest increases were seen in the categories of Motor Vehicles and Parts Dealers, up 20.8 percent; food services and drinking places, up 7.8 percent, merchant wholesalers – durable goods, up 13.7 percent; machinery manufacturing, up 84.9 percent; and clothing and clothing accessories, up 8.9 percent.

Other categories showing increases included the construction industry, up 6.8 percent; general merchandise stores, up 6.2 percent; food and beverage stores, up 11.2 percent; furniture and home furnishings, up 3.5 percent; and accommodations, up 87.9 percent.

Fifteen of Nevada’s seventeen counties recorded an increase in taxable sales for May 2012 compared to May 2011, with only Lincoln and Lyon counties reporting a decrease.

It was the 23rd consecutive month of increases in taxable sales.

The sales taxes collected from the consumer activity are now about $34.5 million more for the 2012 fiscal year through May than what was projected by the Economic Forum.

Wachter said the upcoming back-to-school shopping season will provide further guidance on how Nevada’s economy will perform through the fall and holiday shopping season.


Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, says Nevada unemployment will play an important role in consumer confidence but the May numbers are great:

072712Wachter1 :22 these are great.”

Wachter says the upcoming back-to-school shopping season should be a good indicator of Nevada’s economic health for the remainder of the year:

072712Wachter2 :11 make some improvements.”





Nevada Taxable Sales Sees Modest But Solid Gain In April

By Sean Whaley | 2:31 pm June 29th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s taxable sales climbed by 5.1 percent in April over April 2011, continuing a 22 consecutive month trend of positive numbers for the important economic indicator, the state Department of Taxation reported this week.

The $3.5 billion in taxable purchases in April were buoyed by double-digit gains in several major categories, including construction; up 16.1 percent, merchant wholesalers-durable goods, up 10.2 percent; and motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 10.5 percent.

For the fiscal year through April taxable sales are up 7.2 percent over the same period in the 2011 fiscal year.

Clark County was up 4.9 percent in April, while Washoe County eked out a small 0.2 percent gain. Thirteen of 17 Nevada counties reported gains in taxable sales in April.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the solid gains in April came even without a lot of shopping ahead of Easter, which fell on April 8 this year. Much of the Easter shopping came in March, he said.

“It did get a little bit warmer starting in March, so we saw a lot of purchases that people traditionally make when it starts getting warmer made a little bit earlier in the season than maybe last year,” he said. “All things considered April was a very good month.”

General merchandise stores were up 2.4 percent in April, clothing and accessories stores were up 1.8 percent, furniture and home furnishings were up 5 percent, and accommodations were up 13.4 percent.

The home furnishings increase, “is a great number, especially given our housing situation,” Wachter said. “The fact that that number has consistently remained up we view as positive.”

The accommodations number is good news, since Nevada needs its gaming and tourism industries to come back as well, he said.

Sales and use taxes collected from purchases are 4.2 percent ahead of projections for the state general fund for the fiscal year through April, meaning there is nearly $28 million more than was forecasted for the period.

Wachter said this will mean additional money for education and health and human services in the next budget cycle.


Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said April was a good month for taxable sales:

062912Wachter1 :25 very good month.”

Wachter says the home furnishings increase is particularly good given the state of Nevada’s housing market:

062912Wachter2 :27 in that category.”

Las Vegas Ranks Fifth in Nation in Questionable Slip and Fall Claims

By Sean Whaley | 2:18 pm May 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – According to the latest report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Las Vegas ranks fifth in the nation for questionable slip-and-fall claims despite being only the 30th largest city in the United States.

Most businesses carry insurance to financially protect them should someone become injured as a result of a legitimate accident. However, criminals fake slip-and-fall injuries in order to submit fraudulent claims against the business or the business’s insurer.

“The cost of these claims goes into the cost we all pay for retail goods,” said Bryan Wachter, director of Government Affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada.

There are additional costs when courts are tied up with fraudulent or frivolous claims, and when business owners have to take time out to defend against them, he said.

According to Michael Geeser, president of the Nevada Insurance Council, fraudulent slip-and-fall claims raise the cost of insurance for everyone.

“We all pay the price when scammers strike,” he said. “Las Vegas being in the fifth spot given the size of the city certainly raises a red flag.”

The NICB noted that large retailers are not the only ones being hit with slip-and-fall scams. Small retailers have become a target of criminals who use a threat of litigation in order to get the small business to pay a cash amount to avoid being sued. In these cases, a person fakes an injury and then pretends to have paid for medical treatment. The store owner is given the choice of paying the “reimbursement” amount in cash or being sued.

Both Wachter and Geeser agree that such pay-outs only encourage more fraud.

“Small retailers need to be on the alert for these scams and promptly alert law enforcement to these kinds of extortion,” Wachter said.

“Of course, the consumer is the one who ultimately pays since retailers need to incorporate the cost of the insurance into the prices they charge for the products,” Geeser said. “Stopping such fraud is important to keeping a lid on costs.”

To compile this report, the NICB reviewed slip-and-fall questionable claims referred during the period of Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2011. In 2010, there were 1,944 referrals; in 2011, there were 2,168 – an increase of 12 percent.

The five states generating the most slip-and-fall questionable claims from 2010-2011 were:  California (667); New York (280); Texas (245); Illinois (230) and Florida (286). The top five cities were:  New York (134); Los Angeles (127); Philadelphia (99); Chicago (63) and Las Vegas (62).


Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter of the Retail Association of Nevada says it is unfortunate the problem is on the rise in Las Vegas:

050812Wachter1 :15 to be in.”

Wachter says it also takes court resources and time from business people who have to fight fraudulent claims:

050812Wachter2 :24 are huge costs.”

Wachter says it is important to highlight these issues for small business owners because of the costs involved:

050812Wachter3 :21 to pay you.”

Nevada Posts Double-Digit Gains In Taxable Sales in February

By Sean Whaley | 4:32 pm April 26th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada consumers purchased $3.2 billion worth of taxable goods in February, a 10.2 percent increase over February 2011 and the 20th consecutive month of increases, the state Department of Taxation reported today.

A number of major taxable sales categories saw double-digit gains, including motor vehicles and parts dealers, up 22.9 percent; bars and restaurants, up 11.9 percent; furniture and home furnishings, up 15.4 percent, and general merchandise stores, up 16.9 percent.

Car dealership. / Photo by Coolcaesar via Wikimedia Commons.

Also seeing big increases were merchant wholesalers-durable goods, up 18 percent; clothing and clothing accessories stores, up 11.3 percent; and accommodations, up 25.7 percent.

The only major category reflecting a decline was the construction industry, which was off 25.5 percent over February 2011.

Both Clark County, up 11.1 percent; and Washoe County, up 10.7 percent; saw double-digit gains.

Fourteen of Nevada’s seventeen counties recorded an increase in taxable sales for February 2012 compared to February 2011. Only Elko, Humboldt and White Pine Counties recorded a decrease.

Compared to the May 2011 Economic Forum projections and based on department analysis, the general fund portion of the sales and use taxes is approximately 4 percent or $21.2 million above its forecast for fiscal year 2012 through February.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the February report is encouraging for a number of reasons, including the big increase in the accommodations category, which reflects stronger tourism numbers.

Casino win numbers were strong in both January and February of this year.

“Very optimistic looking forward,” he said. “We’ve got reason to believe that March and April are going to be good months as well. We projected an increase in spending in the spring for Easter.”

The unseasonably warm weather has contributed to the increases in several of the categories, Wachter said.

One ongoing concern is Nevada’s 12 percent unemployment rate, he said.

“We’re still mildly concerned,” Wachter said. “We need to get people spending money and the best way to do that is to give them a job. But these numbers are worth being optimistic for.”


Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter of the Retail Association of Nevada says the strong numbers should carry through March and April as well:

042612Wachter1 :12 spring for Easter.”

Wachter says Nevada’s 12 percent unemployment rate remains a concern but the February taxable sales report is cause for optimism:

042612Wachter2 :11 being optimistic for.”



Taxable Sales Post Modest But Broad 4.8 Percent Gain In January

By Sean Whaley | 4:14 pm March 29th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s taxable sales climbed 4.8 percent in January to $3.15 billion, with increases in all major consumer categories except construction, the state Department of Taxation reported today.

It was the 19th month of taxable sales increases in Nevada and brought the increase for the fiscal year 2012 to date to 7.2 percent. Taxable sales increased by 6.1 percent in Washoe County and 3.5 percent in Clark County in January.

The biggest increases were seen in clothing and clothing accessory stores, up 12.8 percent; motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 8.1 percent; utilities, up 80.7 percent; bars and restaurants, up 2.4 percent; and merchant wholesalers-durable goods, up 8.2 percent.

Construction remained the weak link, down 17 percent in January over January 2011.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the report provides more evidence that Nevada’s economy is on the mend. Nineteen months of increases is a great trend, not only for retailers but for the state as a whole, he said.

“We saw an increase in 15 of the 17 counties as well as in most categories,” Wachter said. “We’re not seeing sales tax increases in just general merchandise or just food, we’re seeing it across the board.

“We’ll be excited when construction can start matching those trends, but for now the fact that we’re posting gains in large purchases as well as small purchases – for instance we’re seeing gains in car purchases as well as general merchandise – that is something we feel is positive and a great trend moving forward,” he said.

The optimism is expected to carry forward through the spring.

The association earlier this week reported that Nevada consumers are projected to spend upwards of $290 million on holiday meals, gifts, candy, spring clothing and decorations, flowers and greeting cards to help celebrate the upcoming Easter holiday, which falls on April 8 this year.

Peeps. / Photo by Evan-Amos via Wikimedia Commons.

The annual Easter spending survey, commissioned by the National Retail Federation (NRF), reported an increase in average spending per person of 11 percent in 2012 ($145.28) compared to last year ($131.04). The NRF attributes the rise to both unseasonably warm weather conditions in many parts of the country and improving consumer confidence levels.

Mary Lau, president of the Retail Association of Nevada, noted that Easter falls more than two weeks earlier than it did last year.

“Because Easter falls on vastly different calendar dates every year, the Easter displays in stores are a good reminder to consumers that the holiday is approaching and that it is time to start preparing to celebrate with family and friends,” she said.

Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, says the January taxable sales increase was broad based:

032912Wachter4 :27 across the board.”

Wachter says until construction recovers, gains in small and large categories is a great trend:

032912Wachter2 :21 trend moving forward.”

Wachter says the association expects an increase in Easter discretionary purchases:

032912Wachter3 :30 excited about that.”


Nevadans Grow More Pessimistic About Economy, Question If Elected Officials Understand Their Problems

By Sean Whaley | 2:19 pm September 20th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevadans are more pessimistic now about the state of the economy than they have been since early 2010, according to the most recent poll commissioned by the Retail Association of Nevada.

It shows that Nevadans were starting to feel a bit better about the economy earlier this year, but their mood has changed in the poll by Public Opinion Strategies released today. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed said the state is heading in the wrong direction, up from 69 percent in February and 76 percent in September of 2010.

“So it’s a very pessimistic voter population,” said Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for RAN. “It’s just kind of reactionary. I think it ties for one of the most pessimistic polls we’ve done since we started polling.”

The only more pessimistic results came in February of 2010, when 80 percent of those surveyed said the state was headed in the wrong direction. RAN started its polling in May 2009.

Mary Lau, president of RAN, said the survey, “reflects the continuing, brutal toll that the economy is taking on Nevadans.”

“We conduct this poll approximately every six months to gain information about how Nevadans view our economy and the state’s political environment,” she said.  “We then share this information with our members, the public and state Legislators so that the real concerns of our state will be considered when policies are shaped in Carson City.”

The survey of 500 likely voters was completed September 14-15 and has a margin of error of plus/minus 4.38 percentage points. It was conducted just before the release of the unemployment numbers for Nevada for August, which showed the third straight month of increases after five months of declines. The jobless rate rose to 13.4 percent in August, up from 12.9 percent in July.

Californians who lost jobs in 2007 due to a freeze. / Photo courtesy of FEMA.

“You can see where we were going, and there were a couple of optimistic points in the history of the poll, but we’re back to the more pessimistic side,” Wachter said. “It’s not surprising that these people are disheartened with the employment numbers, but it is surprising to see that respondents allowed themselves to get a little excited and then now we’re seeing that drop back off.”

The survey also shows that while Gov. Brian Sandoval’s approval rating is strong at 50 percent with 33 percent disapproving, the Legislature is not as fortunate. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed approve of the job the Legislature is doing, with 48 percent disapproving.

And a majority of those questioned in the poll do not believe that Sandoval or the Nevada Legislature understand the challenges they are facing.

Fifty-two percent said they do not believe Sandoval understands the problems they face, with 41 percent saying he does. For the Legislature, 65 percent say lawmakers don’t understand their problems with 31 percent saying they do.

Among other findings in the survey:

Only 37 percent of Nevadans believe that the worst is over, compared to 50 percent who believed that in February of 2011 and 32 percent who believed that in May 2009.

Nevadans are also wary of increased taxes and government spending, with 64 percent saying there is still a lot of waste, fraud and abuse in the state budget. This same percentage says that increasing taxes and fees on businesses will result in additional job losses. Sixty-two percent say increasing taxes will harm efforts to diversify the economy.

Despite these views, 57 percent of Nevadans would rather raise taxes than cut spending if the alternative is cuts to education and health care, though an overwhelming majority of 71 percent would support a proposal to limit annual state government spending increases to the rate of economic growth in the state.

Public Opinion Strategies (POS) is a national Republican-oriented political and public affairs research firm founded in 1991.


Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for RAN, says Nevadans are more pessimistic than they have been in a long time:

092011Wachter1 :15 we started polling.”

Wachter says earlier polls showed a bit more optimism from Nevadans, but not in the latest poll:

092011Wachter2 :22 drop back off.”