Holiday shoppers drive 5.8% increase in retail sales

Holiday shoppers in more of a spending mood boosted Retail Trade sales by 5.8 percent during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to a Washington State Department of Revenue report issued today. Sales by retailers reached $12.9 billion compared to $12.2 billion during the fourth quarter of 2009. Overall taxable retail sales, which include sales by retailers, the construction industry and other industry sectors, rose a smaller 2.9 percent to $26.8 billion.

In Pierce County, taxable retail sales totaled $2.8 billion, an increase of 5 percent, and retail trade sales reached $1.5 billion, an increase of 7.9 percent. In Tacoma, taxable retail sales totaled $1 billion, an 8.5 percent increase. Retail trade sales reached $532 million, an increase of 10.4 percent.

While retail trade sales were up over the fourth quarters of both 2009 and 2008, they are still below the fourth quarters of 2006 and 2007. Overall taxable retail sales are up over 2009 but lower than 2005 through 2008.

Among major industries, taxable sales by the Construction sector declined by 6.8 percent to $4.1 billion. Accommodations and Food Services rose 6.3 percent to $2.7 billion. Among retailers, New and Used Auto Dealers were up 11.7 percent to $1.9 billion, Building Materials, Garden Equipment & Supplies increased 2.2 percent to $964 million, and General Merchandise Stores rose 3 percent to $2.1 billion.

Taxable retail sales and retail trade by county and city, and a breakdown of sales statewide by industries are available at . The full report is available at .