Taxable retail sales dropped 11 percent in 2009

The Bellingham Business Journal

Overall taxable retail sales in Washington declined 11 percent to $100.5 billion during 2009, according to a new report by state Department of Revenue. Whatcom County faired slightly better last year, with a drop of 9.5 percent in total taxable retail sales.

Statewide, the retail trade sector dropped 7.2 percent to $44.9 billion. Retail trade is a subset of all taxable retail sales that includes retailers but excludes other industries such as services and construction.  A sharp decline in construction activity – down 24 percent to $17.8 billion – weighed down overall taxable retail sales.

Most industry sectors saw lower sales last year compared to 2008.
•    New and used auto sales dropped 12.8 percent.
•    Furniture and home furnishings declined 15.8 percent.
•    Building materials was down 13.3 percent.
•    Apparel and accessories dropped 8.3 percent
•    Books, periodicals and music stores fell 5.2 percent
•    Accommodations and food services dipped 2.7 percent.

Among the few industries to see growth were E-commerce and mail orders, up 9.1 percent, and food and beverage stores with an 8.2 percent gain.

To view a breakdown of taxable retail sales by county, city or industry, click here.

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