When Lafayette's December sales tax numbers came in, there was a collective sigh of relief. The parish was more than holding on, as taxable retail sales rose 3 percent in 2008 while some communities across the country were experiencing major declines. 

That local optimism, however, is now clouded by a 7 percent drop in January sales compared with the same month a year ago — falling from $425 million to $396 million.

So is there reason to be concerned? Not just yet, as there may be more to the January 2009 numbers than meets the eye. Read more analysis of January's sales tax figures in this month's issue of Acadiana Business.

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