State's retail sales up 7.4 percent in third quarter 2016

OLYMPIA – Feb. 8, 2017 –Washington state’s taxable retail sales increased 7.4 percent in the third quarter of 2016 over the same quarter in 2015, reaching $38.5 billion. Retail trade, which is a subset of all taxable retail sales, rose 5.8 percent to $16.33 billion.

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 decisions.

Statewide snapshot of taxable retail sales activity

  • Sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 6.9 percent, reaching $3.36 billion.
  • Lawn and garden supplies and equipment sales rose by 17.3 percent to $176.9 million
  • Drug and health stores’ sales rose 19.6 percent, reaching $672 million.
  • Taxable e-commerce and mail order sales increased 10.5 percent to $663 million.*


Highest taxable retail sales – top 10 counties

Taxable retail sales Percent change Retail trade Percent change
King $15.58 billion 7.7 $5.51 billion 3.8
Pierce $3.87 billion 6.2 $1.96 billion 7.6
Snohomish $3.57 billion 7.8 $1.85 billion 7.5
Spokane $2.4 billion 6.8 $1.17 billion 5.9
Clark $1.71 billion 7.3 $744 million 6.8
Thurston $1.3 billion 9.7 $628 million 6.8
Kitsap $1.11 billion 9.5 $571 million 9.0
Whatcom $1.03 billion 3.7 $459 million 6.5
Yakima $999 million 5.9 $456 million 4.6
Skagit $732 million 6.5 $390 million 6.0


Highest taxable retail sales – top 10 cities

Taxable retail sales Percent change Retail trade Percent change
Seattle $6.39 billion 9.4 $1.78 billion 5.8
Bellevue $1.81 billion 3.1 $761 million 3.4
Tacoma $1.27 billion 4.9 $627 million 6.0
Spokane $1.25 billion 5.7 $577 million 6.3
Vancouver $935 million 2.6 $425 million 4.7
Renton $777 million 13.6 $376 million 2.6
Everett $714 million 2.9 $351 million 2.1
Lynnwood $647 million 8.3 $408 million 7.7
Spokane Valley $605 million 9.8 $357 million 4.8
Puyallup $596 million 6.4 $392 million 5.9


Accessing more results by city or county

Check Revenue’s Statistics and reports page for additional detail about taxable retail sales by city, county and industry.


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.