experienced a 11.2 percent increase in
1996 retail sales from 1995. The city's
retail sales have increased annually
over the past 12 years, in spite of
having two national economies impacting
its growth. Part of this increase can be
explained by El Paso's overall
population growth which continues to
grow at a rate of 2.5 percent. Wholesale
and Retail trade remains the largest
employment sector and is anticipated to
experience steady growth through 1997
and into 1998, in spite of the 1994 peso
devaluation. Large retailers like
Wal-Mart, Big 8 Foods, The Sports
Authority, and Hobby Lobby continue to
expand in the El Paso retail market and
have all opened stores in the last year.
A new 140 store retail outlet mall has
also been planned for the west side.
restaurant business also remains strong
in El Paso with many national chains
such as T.G.I. Fridays, Applebee's, and
Chili's expanding in the past year.
Additionally, many locally owned
restaurants have opened in the city
through 1997 with this trend anticipated
to continue through 1998.