Auto sales help boost state revenue
Fourth quarter retail numbers up almost 6 percent over 2009, but still down from previous years
A strong rebound in car and truck sales boosted fourth-quarter sales tax revenues in Washington and the five most populous counties, the state Department of Revenue reported Wednesday.
Retail sales for the October-December period rose 5.7 percent compared with 2009, to $12.9 billion.
Retail trade sales, which adds revenues from construction and other industrial sectors, climbed 5.8 percent from 2009, to $26.8 billion in the October-December period.
Total retail trade sales in Spokane County rose 1.7 percent to $926 million, but fell 0.7 percent in Spokane, to $492 million. Retail sales in the county inched 0.6 percent ahead to $1.8 billion, and in the city 0.7 percent ahead to $492 million.
In Spokane Valley, retail trade slowed 0.2 percent to $425 million, but retail advanced 3.4 percent to $282.7 million.
Counties adjacent to Spokane reported increases. The exception was Pend Oreille County, where retail trade, at $25.1 million, and retail, at $10.4 million, fell 11.3 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
Retail trade in Lincoln County jumped 17.6 percent to $26.3 million, and retail 4.6 percent to $7.5 million.
Stevens County retail trade bumped 1.7 percent to $92.3 million, and retail 6.5 percent to $49.7 million.
Whitman County retail trade was up 9.3 percent to $116.6 million, and retail 24.9 percent to $45.8 million.
Statewide, the gains in retail sales were led by new and used car dealers, where revenues rose 11.7 percent compared with the 2009 quarter. Construction continued to be a drag on retail trade, falling 6.8 percent.
Despite the increases over 2009, the department noted retail trade sales were below levels for 2007 and 2006. Sales by retailers remained below levels for the years 2005 through 2008.