Spokane County reported total 4th quarter retail sales were up by a tiny 0.66 percent, compared with the year before.
That's the first fourth-quarter retail sales gain since 2008.
For the full 2010 year, Spokane County retail sales fell 2 percent. Avista Economist Randy Barcus said that's fairly impressive, since the previous year, 2009, was 10 percent off the year before.
"I expect consumer spending will have modest increases in 2011," Barcus predicted in a newsletter from Greater Spokane Inc.
At the same time, Barcus said rising gas prices may pull consumer spending down somewhat.