Tuesday, December 21, 2010

San Rafael Target decision delayed again; and where did that sales tax come from..?

San Rafael Council failed to come to a decision again on the proposed Target in San Rafael after another marathon session at last night's Council meeting. This time the loudest noises were being made by those in opposition to the store, who continue to ask questions about traffic impacts, minimum wages and the effect that the store will have on local Mom & Pop retailers.

Earlier in the day Target launched its charm offensive by stationing people around the city with large red "Yes Target" signs. There's also a website, Facebook page and twitter feed.  The opposition group also has a "Heck No" Facebook page, and is attempting to get enough signatures on a petition to force a referendum.

As an aside, it is interesting to see that Target is claiming $675,000 in new sales tax revenues will be provided by the new store. If this figure is the 1% sales tax that goes to the City of San Rafael, that would suggest Target expects the store to make $67.5MM in annual retail sales, which just happens to correspond to $500 per square foot for the 135,000 sq.ft store. Add on to that figure sales from groceries (which aren't taxed) and you have what will be one of the best performing Target stores in the nation (Target's average sales performance was $287 per sq.ft in 2009).

Of course this won't be new sales tax, but will instead be the tax that would have been paid at wherever Target's customers shopped before the new Target appeared; so the majority of it will be a diversion of tax receipts to the City of San Rafael from other Marin cities, in particular the City of Novato, which is where locals buy their Target stuff now. A sizable proportion would likely also be diverted from other stores in San Rafael, so the net new tax receipts for the City of San Rafael would be somewhat less than $675,000.

Overall, I think $70MM+ in annual sales is rather ambitious for a store in this inconvenient and unattractive location, so don't be surprised if the numbers come in quite a bit lower than advertised.

No comments: