Southwest Florida’s taxable sales took quite a hit during the early months of the pandemic, but have come back strong since, according to data from the Florida Department of Revenue.
Taxable sales in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties tumbled about 19% in April 2020 compared to the previous year. But by the summer, sales started to exceed what they were in 2019. The main driver of the bounce-back has been “big ticket items,” such as building materials, appliances and automobiles, as noted in a recent report by FGCU’s Regional Economic Research Institute. While the pandemic has largely stopped people from doing things such as eating out or going to movies, it’s meant that people have saved and used stimulus cash on home renovations, a new car or other major purchases.