This week saw the release of stronger than expected September retail sales results. There was also a dip in the mall vacancy rate - the first improvement in occupancy for three years. The rash of good news brought forth cautious optimism from several commentators that the retail sector is on the cusp of a period of sustained growth.
In Marin, our own radar on retail performance also surprised us with a strong September result. The 1% retail sales tax distribution to Marin cities for September was the highest since 2007, beating by a fraction both September 2009 and September 2008. This year's figure (the purple line on the chart below) was widely predicted (by me) to fall below 2009 due to the cash for clunkers stimulus that bumped up 2009 retail sales.It will be interesting to see next month if the momentum can be maintained as we head into the holiday season.