Report sees more Nevada consumers spending freely

A new report shows employment in Nevada rose 3.3 percent in May compared with last year, which has driven consumers to spend more freely because they’re more confident that they’ll be continuously employed, said Randy Boesch, executive vice president of The Private Bank by Nevada State Bank.

“Unemployment is dropping, and people are confident and willing to make more purchases,” Boesch said.

According to the recently released Nevada State Bank economic briefing, the low rate of new mortgage debt, combined with historically low interest rates, has also produced greater consumer confidence.

“We’ve done a good job flushing out inventory here in Nevada of homes that were built during the last several years at the peak of the recession, and our economy has gotten better nationally so more individuals are focused on Nevada to buy homes,” Boesch said. “Also, some homeowners didn’t want to buy a short sale or foreclosure, so there’s more of an appetite for new homes.”

Sales of building and gardening supplies in Nevada have increased 24.6 percent as did furniture sales by 33 percent, the report said.

Patti Gerace, marketing director for Walker Furniture, which has been in business in Las Vegas since 1960 and operates three locations throughout the valley, said it’s experienced a 31 percent increase in gross sales for July.

“We’ve seen an increase in July locally and it looks like the economy is turning around,” she said. “As housing sales get better, it directly reflects on sales here.”

Gerace added that Walker Furniture typically sees an increase in sales during the first and fourth quarter, so an increase in sales in July came as a surprise.

“Summer is traditionally slower but it’s been a great month, and August has started off strong, too,” she said. “With our Labor Day specials and door busters, I think that will kick up business in September as well. Our end of the year sales also tend to be pretty strong.”

As of April in Nevada, auto sales have increased 62.3 percent since the recession.

“Consumer confidence is definitely coming back around,” Park Place Infiniti General Manager Joe Tortomasi said. “We’ve seen a 23 percent increase in new auto sales and 35 percent increase in used sales so far this year. People are also keeping their cars longer, so our service department has gotten busier, too.”

According to Tortomasi, auto sales generally increase during the summer and winter.

“During the summer, people buy cars because they’re going on vacation and we have strong incentives during our two events in the winter and spring,” he said. “Also, by the end of the year, we’re pushing old models out to get rid of inventory and get ready for newer models.”

For the last quarter, Tortomasi said he is anticipating a 40 percent to 50 percent increase in new auto sales at Park Place Infiniti as it gears up for the opening of a 20,000-square-foot building next to their 5605 W. Sahara Ave. location.

“This is the first time Park Place has put their stamp on Las Vegas,” he said of the company, which opened in July 2012.

The construction, which began last November, costs more than $5 million and will house new car sales and service. Tortomasi said construction is expected to end this October and Park Place Infiniti’s current building will house used auto sales.

“Disposable income is coming back around,” he said. “It’s a good time to buy a car.”

In addition to a rise in consumer spending, Boesch said businesses are also feeling more confident.

“Business owners are looking to expand or acquire new locations so they’re coming to us wanting to take on a little debt because they want to take advantage of the growing economy and when you expand that requires capital,” he said. “It’s about making an investment for the future and there have been so many positive trends so we believe businesses will stay on the upswing here in Nevada.”

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