State: Grocery, Furniture Sales Up, Retail and Restaurant Sales Down


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In Tennessee, sales of building materials and groceries were up last month while retailers, restaurants, and bars continued to see declines.

In all, though, Tennessee tax revenues in August were higher than they were a year ago, buoyed by federal stimulus funds, according to to Tennessee Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley. August revenues were $1.2 billion, he said. The figure is up $22 million over August 2019 and $115.1 million more than budget estimates.

“Consumer activity for the month of July, reflected in August’s sales tax receipts, continued to outperform expectations as federal stimulus resources remained a large part of the state’s strong performance,” Eley said in a statement. “While tax receipts from building material suppliers, food stores, furniture, and home appliance retailers have increased significantly compared to last year, apparel stores, many small retailers, restaurants, and bars continue to experience losses due to decreased sales activity.”

August marked the first month of the state’s new fiscal year. Eley said his office will “remain cautiously optimistic” but will “continue to monitor economic activity and revenue trends to ensure fiscal stability.”

Here are some other points of interest from the August report:

• General fund revenues were $108.6 million more than the August estimate. The four other funds that share in state tax revenues were $6.5 million more than the estimates.

• Sales tax revenues were $103 million more than the estimate for August. The August growth rate was 3.83 percent.

• Gasoline and motor fuel revenues decreased by 7.75 percent from August of 2019 and were $2.3 million less than the budgeted estimate of $103.4 million.

• Business tax revenues were $1 million less than the August estimate of $9 million.

• Tobacco tax revenues for the month were less than budgeted estimates by $1 million.

• Motor vehicle registration revenues were $4 million more than the August estimate of $26.4 million.

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