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Weather, Economy Responsible for Modest Revenue Growth in Branson

BRANSON, Mo. -- Retail sales in the city are growing in 2013, despite a May dip in tourism due to weather.
BRANSON, Mo. -- The heavy tourism season is winding down at the start of the school year, but tax revenues indicate mostly good news for the city.

The city's Budget and Finance Committee released its monthly report of sales and tourism tax revenues on Thursday.

May collections decreased nearly 8% from the same time last year, when the city experienced a small boom in revenues.

"It's been great," Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley said, describing the summer. "And it's been good ever since."

City projections indicate that revenues will fall slightly short of the city's budget goals, and the committee also discussed ways to save money and cut costs.

"We budgeted higher revenues for what has actually come in at this time of the year," Presley said. "So we're very cautiously watching."

Complete tax reports for June and July, but city officials projected a strong month based on preliminary data.

"You could just feel the energy in town," Presley said. "All of a sudden, everybody was here."

Gayle Pitman, who manages retail spaces at the IMAX Entertainment Complex, felt the same way.

"June was a little bit quieter for us," she said. "On the rainy days it was better. July has been great."

Pitman said more shoppers and families were visiting the shops and attending IMAX screenings, and that they were more willing to buy high-end items like jewelry instead of more inexpensive souvenirs.

"We were very happy with the summer," she said. "Women's accessories have just been our number one increase. Scarves, jewelry, things like that."

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