Taxable retail sales statewide increased 3 percent to $103.8 billion in calendar year 2011, the Washington State Department of Revenue reported April 27.
In Whatcom County, sales in 2011 increased 4.1 percent from 2010.
Retail trade, a component of all taxable retail sales that includes retailers but excludes other industries, increased 3.5 percent over 2010 to $47.9 billion.
The 3 percent gain for 2011 compares to a 0.1 percent drop in overall sales in 2010 and an 11.2 percent drop in 2009.
Among major industries, construction was down 1.7 percent but still much better than the 12 percent decline in 2010.
New and used auto sales were up 8.3 percent compared to a 2.8 percent gain in 2010. Accommodations and food services rose 5.1 percent, apparel and accessories increased 5.5 percent, and sales of building materials, garden equipment and supplies declined 0.3 percent.