Taxable retail sales rise in Vancouver, Clark County

Local increases exceed that of state in 4Q

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor

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Taxable retail sales increases in both Vancouver and Clark County exceeded the average statewide increase in last year’s fourth quarter, the state Department of Revenue reported Monday.

Clark County and Vancouver both posted 7.4 percent increases in taxable retail sales in the Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014, period, compared to the same period the prior year. Those increases brought total taxable retail sales in the county for the quarter to $1.4 billion and to $816 million in the city.

Statewide, taxable retail sales grew in the fourth quarter of 2014 by 7.1 percent over the prior year. Those taxable retail transactions between Oct. 1

and Dec. 31, 2014, increased to $33.4 billion.

Retail trade, which is a portion of all taxable retail sales, jumped 10.4 percent in Clark County to $676 million during the fourth quarter. In Vancouver, the increase was 12.2 percent compared to the prior year, to $405 million. Statewide, the year-over-year increase in all retail trade was 5.4 percent, to $15.5 billion. About one-third of that total was in King County.

The Department of Revenue noted several statewide trends in retail sales for the fourth quarter, including:

o An 18.9 percent increase in e-commerce and mail order sales.

o A 9.4 percent increase in new and used car sales.

o A 9.2 percent increase in sales of building materials and gardening equipment and supplies.

o A 0.6 percent decrease in department store sales.

The Department of Revenue gathers information for its quarterly report from taxable sales by industry. A total of all taxable retail sales for 2014 is to be released later this month.