Return of Wal-Mart boosts Carson City’s taxable sales
Appeal Staff Writer
The re-establishment of Wal-Mart in Carson City helped raise overall taxable sales for November, according to the city’s finance department.
State totals for taxable sales show that the amount for November 2005 increased by 3.8 percent to $78.9 million when compared to the November 2004 amount of $75.8 million.
More reflective of the discounter’s impact on taxable sales is the city’s general merchandise category. This rose by 37 percent in November to $14.8 million from the $10.8 million in November 2004.
“It’s a good start,” said city Finance Director Tom Minton. “It’s pretty much what we expected.”
Projections the city made before the opening of the store were on target, he said.
The North Carson supercenter opened Oct. 26 – more than two years after closing the doors of its South Carson Street store in 2002.
The discount retailer moved from the Carson City site it had occupied since 1991 because it couldn’t expand and carry groceries there. This led to the opening of a Wal-Mart supercenter in north Douglas County.
In late 2003, Wal-Mart announced a tentative plan to open another supercenter in the region – this time in North Carson City to take advantage of freeway traffic.
Wal-Mart’s absence cost the city an estimated $1 million in taxable sales annually, according to previous reports.
The old Wal-Mart site was purchased by Max Baer Jr., who has plans to build a casino. The project is still is up in the air, however, and the building currently warehouses goods to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Douglas County sustained a decrease in overall taxable sales of 3.2 percent to $58.6 million. That county’s general merchandise total dropped from $10 million in November 2004 to $8.3 million in November 2005. Minton said this too can be attributed to the opening of the Carson City Wal-Mart.
The north Douglas County store was busy before the Carson City location opened for business in late October. Being able to shop closer to home – and avoiding that crowd – are reasons why many people are “choosing to shop at the Carson City location versus the Carson Valley location,” Minton said.
Though automobile sales bring Carson City the most taxable sales dollars – 33 percent – general merchandise retail sales comprise 23 percent of the total.
Wal-Mart’s move out of Carson City combined with the closing of the city’s Kmart in 2003 resulted in budget difficulties for the city during the two subsequent fiscal years. Wal-Mart’s return to Carson City didn’t produce a “budget windfall,” but did “meet our expectations,” Minton said.
The city anticipates it will receive $1 billion in total taxable sales during 2006.
“Hopefully, December will show additional sales increases,” Minton added.
— Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
Recent comings and goings on nearby Wal-Mart sites
July 1991: Wal-Mart store opens on South Carson Street
Summer 2001: Second Wal-Mart store location considered on north side of Carson City
July 2002: Wal-Mart store closes on South Carson Street
August 2002: North Douglas County Wal-Mart Supercenter opens in fledgling North Douglas County shopping center, Carson Valley Plaza
July 2003: Plan to turn old South Carson City Wal-Mart store into Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino announced by Max Baer Jr.
December 2003: Max Baer Jr. sues principals in Southgate Mall for right to operate casino at old Wal-Mart site
December 2003: Wal-Mart announces plan to build supercenter in North Carson City
September 2005: Old South Carson City Wal-Mart store site used as Hurricane Katrina relief center
October 2005: North Carson City Wal-Mart Supercenter opens
January 2006: Baer, on his Web site, reaffirms plan to build Hillbillies-themed casino this year in Carson City.