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By Henrietta J. Burroughs
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Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011  
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                         2011 Cover of the California Retail Survey  List of city rankings 
         Photos courtesy of the California Retail Survey      

                                   East Palo Alto is the "Little City by the Bay."*
                                                                           - Ruben Abrica, East Palo Alto City Council member

The City of East Palo Alto now ranks number three in having the highest amount of retail sales per outlet in the State of California. A newly released statewide survey shows that East Palo Alto ranks above 47 other California cities in the average sales sold per outlet.

The rankings were made by the California Retail Survey, a marketing firm which provides sales data on 500 California retail markets. The survey results, which are based on 2009 data, show that the state's average sales per outlet equals $498,032. Nineteen of the top local markets in the 50 cities surveyed had an average sales per retail store in excess of $1 million annually.

Of the 50 cities and towns that were surveyed, East Palo Alto is shown to have retail sales of $2,075,334 per outlet, surpassed only by Colma, an incorporated town in San Mateo County (described by one online site as having "about 1,500 people above ground and over 1.5 million underground"), and Sand City, which is located on the shores of Monterey Bay near Highway 1.

East Palo Alto's high ranking, with regard to retail sales, came as no surprise to the city's Mayor Carlos Romero, who attributed the numbers to the success of the Ravenswood 101 Shopping Center and Ikea. Romero called the Ravenswood 101 shopping complex "a regional destination shopping center," which attracts people come from all over the Bay Area

He said that they usually come to shop at Ikea. Then, according to Romero, one can see the trickle or spill-over effect, during which shoppers leave Ikea, go on to other neighboring stores like Best Buy and then proceed to the Firehouse Grill for dinner.

"We've been able to perform relatively well on a regional basis," Romero said.

Before the Ravenswood 101 Shopping Center was built, East Palo Alto collected about a quarter million dollars in sales tax from its former shopping area, known as Whiskey Gulch. Now the city takes in 2.7 million in sales tax, which amounts to approximately thirty cents on the dollar. The rest of the money goes to the County of San Mateo and to the State of California.

The fact that the retail sales figures are based on 2009 data raises the question of whether the figures given currently still hold true.

East Palo Alto did not appear in the survey's list of 100 top markets. This list was led by Los Angeles, which had $25 billion in retail sales. San Diego came in next with nearly $12 billion in sales. San Francisco followed with $8.5 billion and San Jose was next with just over $7 billion in retail sales.

For more information about the survey, go to CaliforniaRetailSurvey.netfirms.com

To contact the author of this article, email Henrietta J. Burroughs at epatoday@epatoday.org.


Additional reference:

See the EPA Today Online Blog May 9, 2009 entry called, A New Vision for East Palo Alto: A Lovely Little City by the Bay.


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