Retail sales up 10.7% in first quarter 2022

Growth spurred by construction, building materials, garden equipment and supplies

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Aug. 23, 2022 –– After strong gains in 2021, taxable retail sales once again continued to increase in the first quarter of 2022 over the same period in 2021, reaching $50.9 billion. That’s a healthy increase of 10.7%.

Retail trade, a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state, also increased by 5.2% to a total of $22 billion. Retail trade includes sales of items such as clothing, furniture and automobiles, but excludes other industries, such as services and construction.

Taxable retail sales are transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by retailers, the construction industry, manufacturing and other sectors.

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-to-year to equalize any seasonal effects that would influence consumer and business spending.

Some highlights of first-quarter 2022 (January-March) taxable retail sales and retail trade sales include:

  • Construction rose 8.0% to $10.1 billion.

  • Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 6.4% to $4.2 billion.

  • Sales of building materials, garden equipment and supplies increased 4.1% to $2.3 billion.

  • Miscellaneous retailers’ sales increased 7.6% to $4.1 billion.

  • Apparel and accessories sales rose 11% to $1.1 billion.

Several sectors struggled in the first quarter of 2022:

  • Taxable retail sales at department stores dipped -19.4% bringing in $187.4 million.

  • General merchandise sales decreased -1.3% to $2.86 billion.

See first quarter 2022 taxable retail sales and retail trade sales by industry.

Find out more information about taxable retail sales in:

Some highlights of 10 counties and cities in the state:

County

Taxable retail sales

Percent change

Retail trade

Percent change

King

$ 19.2 billion

       13.5

$  7.1 billion

    9.5

Pierce

$  5.5 billion

         6.0

$  2.7 billion

    1.7

Snohomish

$  4.9 billion

       12.9

$  2.4 billion

    6.0

Spokane

$  3.2 billion

         6.2

$  1.6 billion

    1.5

Clark

$  2.7 billion

       10.6

$  1.2 billion

    5.5

Thurston

$  1.8 billion

         5.7

$886 million

    1.0

Kitsap

$  1.5 billion

       11.2

$755 million

    3.3

Whatcom

$  1.4 billion

       11.8

$606 million

    4.6

Kennewick

$  1.3 billion

        5.5

$695 million

   -1.3

Pasco

$  1.2 billion

        6.4

$608 million

    0.09

City

Taxable retail sales

Percent change

Retail trade

Percent change

Seattle

$  7.4 billion

       14.3

$  2.3 billion

  12.2

Bellevue

$  2.3 billion

       17.3

$945 million

  13.8

Tacoma

$  1.7 billion

       10.2

$804 million

    2.5

Spokane City

$  1.6 billion

         8.5

$739 million

    0.5

Vancouver

$  1.5 billion

       12.6

$634 million

    7.7

Renton

$936 million

       21.0

$409 million

  14.3

Everett

$923 million

       16.2

$382 million

    5.0

Puyallup

$733 million

         3.2

$478 million

    0.2

Kennewick

$646 million

         5.6

$356 million

  0.04

Pasco

$610 million

       43.6

$270 million

    9.9

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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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.