State records sales tax and trade boon

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Aug. 13, 2019 – A steady increase in construction once again helped boost the state’s total taxable retail sales in the first quarter of 2019 by 4.9 percent over the same period in 2018, reaching $39.4 billion.

Retail trade, a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state, also increased by 4.6 percent to a total of $16.5 billion.

Taxable retail sales are transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by retailers, the construction industry, manufacturing and other sectors. Retail trade includes sales of items such as clothing, furniture and automobiles, but excludes other industries, such as services and construction.

These figures are part of a quarterly report released today by the Washington State Department of Revenue. The taxable retail sales figures compare the same quarter year-over-year to equalize any seasonal effects that would influence consumer and business spending.

Some highlights of first-quarter 2019 (January - March) taxable retail sales and retail trade sales include:

  • Construction rose 8% to a total $8 billion
  • Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers dipped -1.7% to $3.2 billion
  • Building materials, garden equipment and supplies sales rose 3.4% to $1.6 billion
  • Drug and health store sales jumped 7.1% to $786 million

See first-quarter 2019 taxable retail sales and retail trade sales by industry.

Here are highlights from 10 counties and cities across the state:

County

Taxable retail sales

Percent change

Retail trade

Percent change

King

$16.0 billion

   3.9

$5.5 billion

   5.0

Pierce

$4.2 billion

   5.4

$2.0 billion

   5.0

Snohomish

$3.7 billion

   4.4

$1.8 billion

   2.8

Spokane

$2.4 billion

   4.9

$1.2 billion

   6.7

Clark

$1.9 billion

   6.9

$785 million

   5.1

Thurston

$1.3 billion

   5.3

$660 million

   4.8

Kitsap

$1.1 billion

   1.7

$572 million

   2.8

Whatcom

$1.0 billion

   2.8

$479 million

   6.5

Benton

$955 million

   3.8

$483 million

   2.4

Yakima

$914 million

(-2.4)

$449 million

(-0.2)

City

Taxable retail sales

Percent change

Retail trade

Percent change

Seattle

$6.5 billion

    2.7

$1.8 billion

   7.0

Bellevue

$1.9 billion

    5.1

$743 million

   0.5

Tacoma

$1.4 billion

    0.3

$617 million

   2.7

Spokane City

$1.2 billion

    1.9

$552 million

   3.3

Vancouver

$1.0 billion

    5.2

$437 million

   2.0

Everett

$710 million

    1.5

$326 million

(-1.6)

Renton

$701 million

  (-0.7)

$356 million

   1.7

Lynnwood

$599 million

    0.5

$382 million

(-1.6)

Spokane Valley

$580 million

    2.1

$349 million

   4.0

Puyallup

$605 million

    1.1

$396 million

   0.8

Find out more information about taxable retail sales in:

Counties  Cities

Check Revenue’s Statistics and Reports page for additional detail about taxable retail sales.

Understanding how businesses are classified

Revenue uses business tax return data to create this quarterly report. Businesses are categorized under the U.S. Census Bureau’s classification system based on their primary taxable activity. The North American Industry Classification System – or NAICS – is the same method federal statistical agencies use for the purpose of analyzing economic data.

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