Taxable retail sales up locally in 1st quarter

The Bellingham Business Journal

Overall taxable retail sales in Whatcom County rose 1.2 percent to $634.7 million during the first quarter of 2010, according to a new report by the Department of Revenue.

This defied the statewide trend, which shows taxable retail sales dropping 2.9 percent to $22.6 billion.

Retailers statewide saw a small boost in sales, though, up 1.9 percent to $10.2 billion over the first quarter of 2009. In Whatcom County, retail trades posted a 5.6 percent jump over last year. Retail trade is a subset of all taxable retail sales that includes retailers but excludes other industries such as services and construction.

Statewide results continued to be held down by weakness in the construction sector, which was down 18.3 percent to $3.5 billion over year-earlier results.

Industries that saw increases in sales include new and used car dealers, which were up 1.8 percent to $1.7 billion, and accommodations and food services sales were up 1.8 percent to $2.5 billion. Building materials, garden equipment and supplies sales were up 8.3 percent to $921 million.

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

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