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by Fred Love

Des Moines — Mason City’s taxable retail sales jumped by nearly 5 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to a study released this month from Iowa State University.

The study also reported that Mason City ranks 21st in the state in attracting out-of-town shoppers.

Robin Anderson, executive director of the Mason City Are Chamber of Commerce, said Mason City’s retail strength lies in its ability to provide shoppers the opportunity to kill several birds with one stone.

Anderson said shoppers travel to Mason City to take care of a variety of needs like entertainment and health care.

Mason City’s retail sales grew from $505.3 million in 2006 to nearly $530 million in 2007, according to the report.

The report, authored by Meghan O’Brien, an extension program specialist at Iowa State, analyzed retail sales data from across Iowa to assess the retail strength of the state.

O’Brien used data compiled by the Iowa Department of Revenue to put together the report.

She found that statewide retail sales fell nearly 3 percent between 2000 and 2007, which could lead to less sales tax revenue for state and local governments.

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