Retail sales decline less severe locally

SATURDAY, OCT. 10, 2009

Double-digit drops common across state

Spokane and Spokane County are riding out the downturn in retail sales much better than Washington’s other major urban centers, according to new figures from the Washington Department of Revenue.

Against the backdrop of a record 14 percent decline in sales statewide for the second quarter, Spokane sales were off 5.5 percent, to $948 million. County sales sank 9 percent to $1.7 billion.

By comparison, Seattle sales fell 13.1 percent to $3.8 billion, Tacoma’s 13.3 percent to $947 million, Bellevue’s 19.4 percent to $1.1 billion, and Vancouver’s 18.2 percent to $555 million.

King County sales tumbled 16.8 percent to $9.6 billion, Pierce County’s 14.1 percent to $2.6 billion, Snohomish County’s 14.8 percent to $2.4 billion, and Clark County’s 18.4 percent to $966 million.

The record tumble for the April-June period follows the second worst first quarter, when sales fell 12.8 percent, and the third worst fourth quarter of 2008, when sales slumped 10.8 percent. Accurate record-keeping dates to 1974, the department said.

Two of the biggest drops for the second quarter were in retail sales from construction, down 26 percent to $4.3 billion, and motor vehicle and parts, down 21 percent to $2.3 billion.

Results for other Spokane County cities with more than $10 million in sales were a mixed bag.

Sales in Spokane Valley sank 16 percent to $400 million, and in Liberty Lake 18 percent to $48.3 million.

But sales in Cheney improved 17.4 percent to $33.4 million, in Airway Heights they climbed 12 percent to $23.3 million, and in Deer Park jumped 53 percent to $26.8 million.

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