Whatcom's 2012 retail tops $3.2B, up 7.75 percent from 2011

Whatcom County’s total retail sales in 2012 topped $3.2 billion and increased 7.75 percent over sales from 2011, according to new figures released by the Washington State Department of Revenue.

The county posted $3,260,649,241 in total retail last year, up from $3,026,147,797 in 2011.

In the retail-trade sector only, a subset that excludes industries such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade and several others, Whatcom County saw an increase of 7.18 percent to $1,618,479,895 in 2012.

Washington state’s total taxable retail sales increased 5.1 percent to $109.1 billion in 2012, compared to the sales in 2011. The state’s retail-trade subset rose 5.3 percent to $50.5 billion.

Sumas, the small border town about 25 miles north of Bellingham, had the strongest retail sales growth in the county, with total retail increasing 46.04 percent to $7,570,271 in 2012, and its retail-trade sector increasing 46.07 percent to $4,247,674.

Bellingham rose 7.95 percent to $593,750,784 in total retail, and 5.94 percent to $359,175,406 in retail-sales only.

Compared to Skagit County to the south—both counties compete for Canadian shoppers and commerce from traffic on Interstate 5—Whatcom County had better total retail sales growth in 2012, but its growth in the retail-trade sector lagged behind.

Skagit’s total retail sales increased 6.89 percent to $2,214,983,279 last year, and its retail-trade sector increased 7.94 percent to $1,198,127,779.

One stark trend in Washington showed sales by book stores and news dealers across the state falling by more than 30 percent last year compared to 2011, while at the same time e-commerce and mail-order sales increased more than 20 percent.

Also within the statewide retail-trade sector, sales of new and used cars, auto parts, as well as sales of RVs, boats and motorcycles all increased by between 10 percent and 12 percent last year compared to 2011.

Whatcom County’s retail sales, 2011 to 2012

Entire county
Total retail: Up 7.75 percent to $3,260,649,241
Retail trade: Up 7.18 percent to $1,618,479,895

Total retail: Up 7.95 percent to $593,750,784
Retail trade: Up 5.94 percent to $359,175,406

Total retail: Up 12.43 percent to $36,511,843
Retail trade: Up 28.22 percent to $16,063,534

Total retail: Down 6.07 percent to $5,311,400
Retail trade: Down 5.55 percent to $2,098,257

Total retail: Up 1.10 percent to $43,911,467
Retail trade: Up 23.37 percent to $18,786,144

Total retail: Up 3.18 percent to $50,393,780
Retail trade: Up 2.36 percent to $22,090,745

Total retail: Up 1.37 percent to $1,694,935
Retail trade: Up 2.86 percent to $828,479

Total retail: Up 46.04 percent to $7,570,271
Retail trade: Up 46.07 percent to $4,247,647

All other areas of county
Total retail: Up 8.18 percent to $152,372,880
Retail trade: Up 4.51 to $37,563,922

Evan Marczynski, lead reporter for The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or evan@bbjtoday.com.

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