State's retail sales up 5 percent in second quarter 2017

OLYMPIA – Nov. 16, 2017 – Seasonal growth in sales of lawn and garden equipment and continued increases in drug and health store sales helped boost second-quarter taxable retail sales 5 percent over the same period in 2016, reaching a total of $38.6 billion.

Retail trade sales, a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state, were up 4.9 percent to a total of $16.6 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 (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 second-quarter 2017 (April – June) taxable retail and retail trade sales:

  • Construction rose 6.5 percent to $7.5 billion.
  • Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 4.7 percent to $3.4 billion.
  • Taxable retail sales reported by drug and health stores rose 15.4 percent to $730.5 million.
  • Taxable e-commerce and mail order sales increased 15.2 percent to $734.6 million.
  • Lawn and garden supplies and equipment jumped 19.7 percent to $291.8 million.

See first-quarter 2017 taxable retail sales and retail trade sales by industry

Of the top 10 most populated counties in the state, Clark and Whatcom counties enjoyed the largest overall taxable retail sales percentage increase. Tacoma and Vancouver saw the largest increase of the most populated cities.

See more details on the taxable retail sales and retail trade sales by industry for:

County Taxable retail sales Percent change Retail trade Percent change
King $15.4 billion 1.9 $5.5 billion 3.1
Pierce $4.0 billion 7.8 $2.0 billion 4.9
Snohomish $3.6 billion 5.4 $1.9 billion 4.5
Spokane $2.5 billion 7.4 $1.2 billion 4.7
Clark $1.8 billion 10.5 $786 million 8.8
Thurston $1.3 billion 7.5 $659 million 8.1
Kitsap $1.1 billion 6.9 $583 million 6.0
Whatcom $1.1 billion 11.6 $472 million 9.1
Yakima $955 million 1.6 $476 million 5.9
Skagit $755 million 8.7 $414 million 8.8

City Taxable retail sales Percent change Retail trade Percent change
Seattle $6.3 billion 3.2 $1.7 billion 2.3
Bellevue $1.8 billion 1.8 $770 million 6.4
Tacoma $1.3 billion 10.5 $614 million 1.9
Spokane $1.3 billion 6.0 $572 million 4.5
Vancouver $1.0 billion 8.5 $448 million 7.9
Renton $733 million 1.5 $368 million 2.6
Everett $721 million 3.4 $351 million 2.1
Lynnwood $614 million -0.9 $408 million 3.4
Spokane Valley $594 million 5.0 $353 million 2.9
Puyallup $679 million 4.1 $390 million 1.9

Accessing more results by city or county

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.

*The taxable retail sales reported in the e-commerce and mail order category do not necessarily include online sales made by businesses with a bricks-and-mortar presence. Businesses categorized by this NAICS code identify their primary activity as online or mail order sales.

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The Department of Revenue is Washington state’s primary tax agency, nationally recognized for innovation and quality customer service. Revenue administers nearly 60 categories of taxes that help fund education, social services, health care, corrections, public safety, natural resource conservation and other important services Washington residents count on.