JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

After a strong start this year, retail performance in the Tri-Cities has had mixed reviews during the second quarter.

A report released Sunday by ETSU shows sales declined 1.5% in the Tri-Cities, but grew nearly three percent in both Tennessee and nationwide from April to June.

Sales are down locally for the first time in two years.

Experts say the retail recovery has been one of the bright spots in the business picture.

Production and employment have both struggled to achieve significant recession recovery.

Economists fear any slowdown in retail activity will hurt other economic sectors.

Analysts continue to project slow growth and a long and painful return to full economic prosperity.

The regional economy is back to pre-recession employment levels, but retail performance still lags behind and has recently declined.