San Diego's strengthened economy and consumer confidence has given the retail industry reason to celebrate. Retail sales are up with many stores reporting a record volume in transactions, about $19.8 billion in taxable revenue in 1998. Investors also went on a shopping spree this last year. purchasing record numbers of retail strips, neighborhood and community malls.
The food and beverage industry, which represents 6 cents of every sales tax dollar, is on the rebound despite the challenges presented by the recent prohibition of smoking in bars and restaurants and an increase in the minimum wage. Today, Californians spend 40 percent of their food budget in restaurants. There are more than 6,500 restaurants and fast food outlets in the county.
Several groups assist retail outlets with start-up and growth including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and Its Emerging Business Center, the Food and Beverage Association and the Business Industry District (BID) Council. This organization is an aggregation of 18 formal business districts working on self-improvement which will benefit not only the small companies and retail stores but also the neighborhoods where they do business.
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