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Retail sales sag in Spokane but rise in county for 2011


Spokane Valley figures show strong performance

Retail sales increased in most metro areas of Washington last year, but they declined in Spokane.

Taxable retail sales in the city slid 1.2 percent in 2011, to $3.6 billion, the state Department of Revenue said Friday.

Also, retail trade, a component of all taxable sales that includes retailers but excludes other industries, was $1.8 billion in Spokane last year. That’s a decline of 2.3 percent over 2010.

In contrast, retail sales were up 2.2 percent throughout Spokane County, to $6.9 billion. Retail trade in the county rose 1.4 percent last year, to $3.4 billion.

One reason the county did so well was Spokane Valley: Retail sales there were $1.7 billion in 2011, or 5.9 percent higher than in 2010. Retail trade there was up 5.3 percent year over year.

Retailer moves to Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and North Idaho are part of the reason sales fell in Spokane and rose in neighboring communities.

“It’s important we attract them to stay downtown, to preserve that tax revenue and entice shoppers to come into the city,” said Mike Tedesco, president of the Downtown Spokane Partnership.

Tedesco said he sees a lot of energy around the retail environment downtown, punctuated by the opening of an Apple Store at 710 W. Main Ave. a year and a half ago.

“We have to build upon that and continue to attract these national-brand tenants downtown,” he said. “There’s optimism out on the street.”

Statewide, taxable sales last year increased 3 percent, and were up 4.2 percent in King County, 5.7 percent in Vancouver and 6.6 percent in Seattle. Sales did dip elsewhere, notably 0.6 percent in Tacoma and 1 percent in Pierce County.

In other local cities, taxable retail sales in 2011 were up 2.3 percent in Airway Heights; up 20 percent in Cheney; up 10 percent in Liberty Lake; up 17 percent in Medical Lake; up 3 percent in Millwood; and down 9 percent in Deer Park.

Among major industries in Washington, retail sales in construction were down 1.7 percent, a big improvement over the 12 percent decline in 2010.

New and used auto sales were up 8.3 percent compared to a 2.8 percent gain in 2010.

Accommodations and food services rose 5.1 percent, apparel and accessories increased 5.5 percent, and sales of building materials, garden equipment and supplies declined 0.3 percent.

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