MONROE, La. (AP) — Ouachita Parish retailers continued to post strong overall sales in June, a trend that was consistent during the first half of the year.

The News-Star reports Thursday combined sales tax collections for all parish jurisdictions were up 4.9 percent in June compared to the same month in 2011.

Economist Bob Eisenstadt, who analyzes retail activity from tax collections, said sales are up more than 5 percent for the first six months of 2012.

Randy Barnett of Pecanland Mall in Monroe, which houses the largest collection of retailers in the market, said summer sales have continued to strengthen.

He said back-to-school shopping has been brisk, especially during last weekend's state sales tax holiday.