North Dakota's taxable sales and purchases in the second quarter of this year increased, but the numbers went in the opposite direction in Grand Forks.
While the state's taxable sales and purchases have increased by almost 10 percent, the numbers in Grand Forks show a double-digit decrease-11.75 percent, according to the office of the North Dakota State Tax Commissioner.
This is the second consecutive quarter North Dakota's taxable sales and purchases have increased by this amount and the fifth consecutive quarter of growth in general. Grand Forks saw a decrease of 15.17 percent in the first quarter, according to Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger.
Department store closures, such as Macy's and Sears, impact this, said Maureen Storstad, director of finance for Grand Forks, in an emailed statement.
The city's one-fourth percent sales tax on restaurants and lodging is up 11 percent.
"It appears as though people are coming to Grand Forks to stay over and dine, but may not have as many shopping opportunities when they are here," Storstad said.
The strength of the U.S. dollar also has something to do with it, Rauschenberger said.
"The exchange rate right now decreases Canadian buying power, and so we've seen a significant decrease in Canadians crossing the border to come shop, stay or eat," he said. "Goods just aren't as cheap."
Rauschenberger said the number of Canadian refund applications that come into his office have decreased by almost half.
The mining and oil sector saw an increase of $208 million, and the wholesale trade sector increased by $236 million, increases of 43 percent and 22 percent respectively. The retail trade sector saw little increase.
Williston, which increased by 29.27 percent, relies more on mining than cities like Grand Forks, Bismarck and Fargo, Rauschenberger said.
Fargo's taxable sales and purchases increased by 0.67 percent. Bismarck's decreased by 2.81 percent.
Keith Lund, president of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation, said Canadian traffic, or lack thereof, has had an impact on the city.
"It appears that the greatest increases are out West where we've seen the oil resurgence," Lund said. "And it is likely that Canadian traffic has caused that decrease in Grand Forks."
And in Grand Forks, taxable sales and purchases will probably continue to decrease.
"As long as the U.S. dollar stays strong, I would expect Grand Forks to see a decrease in the third quarter, too," Rauschenberger said.
One positive thing, he said, is that when the online sales tax kicks in, city revenues will see a "boost." Impact from the online sales tax will be seen as early as the fourth quarter of 2018, but most likely next year, Rauschenberger said.