County Q2 retail sales climb 9.3 percent

Sales of goods and services in Clark County that draw a sales tax grew 9.3 percent in this year’s second quarter compared with the same period last year, according to the latest report from the state Department of Revenue.

The sales, called taxable retail sales, include sales of items like cars or clothes, as well as services as repair work or construction. Clark County had a total of $1.63 billion in taxable retail sales for the second quarter. Washington as a whole had $36.8 billion, an increase of 8.6 percent.

The report, released by the department on Wednesday, uses tax-return data to measure sales in the quarter, which ranged from April to June. The figures do not include sales tax.

“It’s the shoe minus the tax,” said Department of Revenue spokesperson Kim Schmanke.

According to the report, Clark County boasted the fifth highest taxable retail sales in Washington. King County earned $15.1 billion and grew 11 percent compared with its 2015 second quarter. Spokane, Snohomish and Pierce counties round out the top five.

Retail trade, a subset of taxable retail sales that focuses only on sales of general goods including clothes, furniture and cars, grew 7.3 percent to $722 million in Clark County, the report said.

Of the countywide totals, Vancouver garnered $926 million of taxable retail sales and $415 million in retail trade, good for 7 and 6.7 percent growth, respectively. Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and Spokane all punched in higher than Vancouver. Seattle alone amassed $6.13 billion in taxable retail sales and $1.7 billion in retail trade.

The Department of Revenue report is based on tax-return data and includes sales of unincorporated Clark County and the county’s smaller cities. Unincorporated Clark County generated $473 million in taxable retail sales, up 10.7 percent over second quarter 2015.

Camas, the second-largest retail city after Vancouver, pulled in just over $64 million, a 6.3 percent increase.

La Center, Ridgefield and Battle Ground made the biggest strides. La Center earned $9.36 million in retail sales compared with $5.52 million last year, a near 70 percent increase over the same period one year earlier. Battle Ground grew 24 percent with $81.5 million in sales; and Ridgefield sold $34 million for a 25 percent increase.

The report also highlights industry trends. The Department of Revenue noted that e-commerce and mail-order sales grew 14.6 percent in Washington to $638 million. Sales in drug stores and health stores rose 13.6 percent, to $633 million. And RV, boat and motorcycle dealers saw sales climb 10.2 percent to $491 million, statewide.

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