NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The COVID-19 pandemic brought an economic roller-coaster for businesses. Some retailers shut their doors while others saw booming sales. But the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that across the country, retail sales are growing.

New Mexico has seen increased sales from restaurants, big box stores, and a range of other shops. The estimated total value of retail sales has increased 16% over the last year, the data shows. The biggest gain in retail value across the state: gasoline sales.

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Over the last year, sales figures increased across a range of retailers in New Mexico. Data from U.S. Census Bureau.

From 2021 to 2022, gasoline sale values have increased by nearly 40% in New Mexico, according to data. But as every driver knows, that increase in sales doesn’t necessarily mean people are buying more gas; it could simply mean prices are increasing.

Median inflation of personal expenditures (i.e. things people buy) rose by about 4% from February 2021 to February 2022, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland shows. But that’s a weighted average of a range of products. Some items saw much more inflation over the last year. The price of gasoline was inflated by nearly 50% across the U.S., data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.

Nationwide, retail sales are up an average of over 15% compared to last year, the data shows. That means from February 2021 to February 2022, sales of everything from clothing sales to food to sporting goods have been on the rise.

In New Mexico, clothing retailers also showed increased sales values from 2021 to 2022. From February 2021 to February 2022, retail clothing and accessory sales in the state increased by more than 23%, U.S. Census Bureau data shows.

Berdel Boulanger, who owns the clothing Silk Road Connection, a clothing store in Albuquerque, says sales have improved recently, following the pandemic.

“I think now, with the change in weather, customers are coming out. They’re starting to travel again and starting to go places again. So our business is picking up,” Boulanger says. “So that’s a good thing, but it was slow to pick up.”

And it’s not just clothing retailers. Other types of shops have been keeping busy as well.

“When people were staying home, they were very interested in purchasing things,” says Sophia, a potter at Hanselmann Pottery in Corrales, New Mexico. “That was how people found their happiness during the pandemic. So, buying pottery was one of the ways that people kind of spent their time. So we did fairly well during the pandemic.”

Sophia adds that their sales have slowed a bit now. And they attribute that, in part, to the fact that many people are spending more money on gas, trips, and other expenses.

While New Mexico’s sales have seen a boost recently, some other states have seen even bigger increases. Total percent increases in retail sales value over the last year were greatest in Vermont, Census data shows.

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Many states saw an increase in total retail sale values over the last year. Data from U.S. Census Bureau.

But compared to its neighbors, New Mexico still saw fair growth. With a 16% increase in total retail value over the last year, New Mexico surpassed Arizona, Colorado, and Utah by a percentage point or so. Texas saw a greater increase in retail value over the last year with an increase of around 19%.


Curtis Segarra is a data-focused reporter at KRQE News 13. You can send story ideas or follow Curtis on Twitter.