The vast majority of consumers who live in and around Lacombe do much of their shopping elsewhere, based on the results of a retail survey conducted by the city.
The survey, which took place between June and August, indicated that 95.4 per cent of respondents buy their clothing and accessories primarily outside of Lacombe. In the case of furniture and home appliances, the percentage of people who do most of their shopping out of town was 89.4 per cent; and when it comes to purchases from sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, the figure was 86.2 per cent. The rate for electronics and appliances was 80.4 per cent.
At the other end of the spectrum, only 25.4 per cent of survey respondents said they usually go elsewhere for groceries; with 34.4 per cent leaving town for health and personal care purchases.
Approximately half shop outside of Lacombe when it comes to motor vehicles and parts (48.8 per cent), and building materials and garden equipment (50.9 per cent). In the case of restaurant purchases, 53.9 per cent of respondents said they spend their money mainly outside of the city.
The survey revealed that 86.7 per cent of respondents who shop elsewhere are motivated by greater selection. A lack of local parking in Lacombe was cited by 9.4 per cent as their impetus for leaving the city.
“The results will help the city better understand future demand for commercial land based on current patterns and future growth,” said Lyla Peter, Lacombe’s planning and development manager.
Peter said she was pleased with the 1,016 responses collected, which included online and written feedback. Twenty-two per cent of these came from people living outside Lacombe.
Other findings from the survey included that 64 per cent of respondents spend more than $500 per month on retail items and groceries, and 17 per cent spend more than $500 per month in Lacombe.
Sixty-one per cent of those who completed the survey were between the ages of 31 and 55. Those 31 to 39 were found to have the highest average monthly spending.
Peter said businesses can review the findings, which are available online at www.lacombe.ca/retailsurvey, and use them to assist with their planning. The results will also be considered by the city as it updates Lacombe’s municipal development plan.
Members of the public are invited to provide input into that plan at an open house this Tuesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. Housing, industrial and commercial development, green spaces, parks, trails, transportation networks, stormwater ponds, heritage and the downtown are among the issues being considered in the updated the plan.
Public feedback is also being accepted through an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/LacombeMDPupdate.