The Baton Rouge economy is booming according to sales tax numbers. There’s been a 5% increase in sales tax collections since January last year. EBR Mayor-President Kip Holden says it’s a sign business in Baton Rouge is booming and some retailers say it’s true.
Tax collections are up 5% in Baton Rouge and at Plato’s Closet sales are up more than 10%. Plato’s Closet is a different kind of retailer. Brooke Smith, District Manger of Plato’s Closet says, “We give you cash on the spot for name brand clothes.” Then they resell the clothes to people looking for a bargain. “You have a lot of families coming in for great deals.”
All the clothes are less than two years old and they’re all designer label. Business started out slow, but since the economy started heading downhill nationally, more people are looking for bargains locally, especially when it comes to clothing. Smith describes a sell she made earlier today. “Her daughter wanted the Abercrombie jeans and she couldn’t bare to spend $75 at the mall and I got her two pairs for $35.”
Some people come in to trade out clothes or just sell some of the clothes they have to get some extra cash. While the economy continues to dominate the news, folks here say they’ll continue to have record breaking sales. “2008 was really great for us, and so far so good for 2009. Just in the right market. Everyone’s looking for great deals right now.” People who shop here say they’ll continue to stop in so they can buy the same clothes for less.
Not all retailers we talked to say business is good. In fact, we talked with four business owners who say even though 2008 was a good year the first part of this year has been terrible and they’re concerned.