• December 19, 2014

Area retail numbers likely to keep growing

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Posted: Sunday, December 29, 2013 4:30 am

The Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Statistical Area’s biggest cities outpaced the state’s retail sales growth and are anticipated to continue growing.

“The whole area has been growing in terms of population and sales,” said Harker Heights City Manager Steve Carpenter, who released a city report detailing retail sales information earlier this month.

Temple, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights and Belton experienced a five-year combined average growth rate in retail sales of 3.36 percent between 2007 and 2011, according to the report. The state experienced a 2.7 percent increase.

The metropolitan area anticipated an increase of $99.2 million in retail sales in 2012. State figures for 2012 were not in the report.

Numbers for 2013 have not been released yet as the year is not over, Carpenter said. Harker Heights receives the numbers from the Texas Retail Survey, which is typically released in April and projects retail sales for every city and county.

“This gives us a picture of what is going on as far as total sales and retail activity,” Carpenter said, noting the figures were different from sales tax revenue projections.

Harker Heights, which uses the report as a marketing tool for attracting businesses, experienced a 9.3 percent increase between 2007 and 2011. For 2012, the city expected about $8.4 million more to be spent in the city, the report stated.

“That is phenomenal really,” Carpenter said. “When you look at it, there are a couple of things that happened. When you go back to 2005 and 2006, you had Walmart come in and there was a big spike. (Retail sales increases) were good for a year. You can see that happen when Market Heights comes in ... and then after a year it leveled off, but it is leveling off at a higher rate.”

Carpenter anticipated retail sales in the city would react the same this year and next, as operations like Sam’s and Rooms to Go opened.

The growth figure also is a good indicator of how well the area survived the national economic hardships.

“I don’t think (Central Texas) weathered it. I think it thrived where a lot of people have had downturn,” Carpenter said.

Fort Hood and medical facilities such as Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, Baylor Scott & White, Metroplex Hospital and Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center have contributed to the area’s increased figures by creating a stable population base, Carpenter said.

“All those combined with people leaving Fort Hood but staying here adds to the population, but that is my opinion,” he said.

The report also showed details about other community statistics that could benefit the Killeen-Temple area, such as median house income and population.

The five-year combined average median household income for Killeen, Temple, Belton, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove was $49,734 from 2006 to 2010, based on estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The figure was about $100 greater than Texas’ five-year average of median household incomes.

“When I am looking at something, I am not just looking at Harker Heights, I am looking at the area because that is what businesses look at,” Carpenter said.

He first promotes the area as a whole and then tries to sell the city because it is centrally located in the region.

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