Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version

May 2007


Department of Agricultural Economics Report No. 182, May 2007. Copyright © B. Johnson and B. Blomendahl. Used by permission. This paper can be found on the Internet at:


Retailing patterns are changing everywhere. Consumer preferences and resources are ever-changing; while simultaneously, the retail sector is constantly evolving into new configurations. Often retail trade centers are pitted against one another in a “zero-sum game” so to speak with any relative gains in trade volume by one occurring at the expense of others. Nebraska is certainly no exception to these universal changes. In fact, the changes often seem compounded across its wide size continuum of towns and cities.

This report represents an update to an earlier report, Retailing Patterns and Trends across Nebraska, 1970-1998. In it we are attempting to provide an accurate up-to-date assessment of geographic patterns and trends over time. Using taxable non-vehicle retail sales data maintained by the Nebraska Department of Revenue, we have developed some indicators of relative retail activity performance down to county and town/city level. Both cross-sectional and time-series performance evaluations are possible for localities. We have also provided county-level analysis by retail classification using the U.S. Census of Retailing conducted every five years. Hopefully, this analysis can provide businesses and community leaders a basis for: (1) understanding the general retailing trends underway; (2) conducting relevant comparative analysis with other communities; and (3) identifying possible strategies for contributing to retail trade viability in their respective areas.