Mariano's credited for Arlington Hts. sales increase
Retail sales in Arlington Heights increased $35 million from 2010 to 2011 and reached $1.05 billion, according to calculations based on Illinois sales tax data.
Credit for much of the increase appears to go to the customers at Mariano's Fresh Market.
John Melaniphy, the village's business and development coordinator, calculated the sales figures from tax information provided by the Illinois Department of Revenue.
The historic high point for Arlington Heights retail sales came in 2006 with $1.13 billion in sales, according to Melaniphy's chart, which goes back to 1995.
The lowest-performing years are 2009 with $978 million; 1996, with $975 million and 1995 with $962 million.
In 2011 the food/grocery store category rose to $200 million from $171 million in 2010, accounting for $29 million of the overall increase.
General merchandise climbed almost $3 million; lumber, building and hardware rose $2.3 million; drugs and miscellaneous retail rose $2.2 million; manufacturing rose almost $9 million; while agriculture and all other categories, which include lawn and garden and beauty shops, rose $5.5 million.
"It seems most likely to me that Mariano's is responsible for much of the gain in the food category," said Melaniphy. Arlington Heights saw the Chicago area's first grocery store from the Wisconsin chain open in July 2010.
"We benefitted from having the only Mariano's," he said. "Some business will be lost to the new (Mariano's) stores in Palatine and Vernon Hills, but that will be minimal. Mariano's will continue to generate significant sales, and many of the other grocers have adjusted their merchandise mix and pricing to compete better with Mariano's."
Retail sales dropped in restaurants and bars; apparel; furniture and electronics; and in automotive shops and gas stations.
Jon Ridler, executive director of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, was concerned about the categories that declined, including restaurants.
"There is much work to be done on helping those business owners connect to resources and programs available to help with strategy and implementation as well as more effective marketing strategies," he said in an email. "That is the main focus of the chamber and will continue to be developed."
Melaniphy said the closing of Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen early in 2011 hurt the restaurant category. That building was taken over by Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant late in 2011, and along with other new restaurants is expected to increase sales in that section.
Sales in the hardware area were helped by a new True Value on Rand Road, and Target's remodeling and addition of groceries pumped up the general merchandise group, he said. Apparel was hurt by the closing of a GAP store, but should pick up with the new Ross Dress for Less.
"Some of the village's economic development initiatives should enhance retail sales next year once these new stores are open for a full year," said Melaniphy. We are hopeful that the economy will continue to improve and assist our retailers and restaurants."