Retail sales up for state and Island

Washington state taxable retail sales increased 4.7 percent to $24.1 billion during the first quarter of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, the Washington State Department of Revenue reported on July 19.

Taxable retail sales represent all sales for services and goods.

Retail trade-only sales increased 4.2 percent to $11.1 billion over the first quarter of 2011. Retail trade is a subset of all taxable retail sales that includes retailers selling goods, but excludes other industries such as services and construction.

Among major industries, construction was up 8 percent to $3.4 billion, motor vehicles and parts rose 9.7 percent to $2.6 billion, and general merchandise stores were up 1.9 percent to $2.2 billion.

Gains from the retail trade sales-only category in Seattle and Bellevue were up as well for the first quarter, with sales up 5.9 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.

For the City of Mercer Island, taxable retail sales increased 8 percent for the first quarter of 2012 over the first quarter of 2011, from $63 million to $68 million.

Island retail trade-only sales increased just under 3 percent for the first quarter, or from $16.7 million to $17.2 million.

To emphasize the growth, the Department of Revenue website included a photo of a shopper loaded with bags with the press release and a caption that says, “Despite all the horror stories about the state not generating enough revenue to pay its bills, the state actually generated more taxable retail sales in 2011 than in the previous year.”


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