The growth rate in taxable retail sales in Clark County and the city of Vancouver topped statewide averages in this year’s second quarter, with Clark County reporting a nearly 15 percent increase from a year ago and Vancouver achieving a 16.8 percent one-year growth rate during the three-month period ending June 30.
By comparison, the state’s taxable retail sales for the second quarter were up by 9.4 percent, to a total of $33.9 billion, compared to the same quarter a year ago. For the subset of retail trade, which excludes non-retail sectors such as construction and services, the state reported an 8 percent increase in sales to a total of $15 billion.
The new quarterly numbers were released Monday by the Washington State Department of Revenue. The report compares this year’s second quarter, covering April through June, to last year’s second quarter to equalize any seasonal effect of consumer purchasing patterns.
Clark County’s taxable retail sales for the second quarter were $1.49 billion, an increase of just less than 15 percent. The retail trade subset totaled $673 million, a 14 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago. Those increases were the highest among the 10 counties highlighted in the Department of Revenue report, including the Puget Sound region counties of King, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston.
A similar state-topping sales trend played out in the city of Vancouver. Businesses in the city reported $865 million in taxable retail sales, a 16.8 percent increase over last year’s second quarter. Retail trade accounted for $389 million of that total, a 14.4 percent increase. Vancouver’s increase in both taxable retail sale and retail trade exceeded those of Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and Spokane.
Clark County’s strong showing in taxable retail sales continues a steady trend of growth that exceeds the state average. In the first quarter of 2015, the county’s taxable retail sales grew by 13.8 percent, far exceeding the 9 percent statewide average increase. For all of 2014, taxable retail sales in Clark county rose by 8.5 percent while the average increase statewide was 6.6 percent for the year.
The new Department of Revenue report also included these statewide highlights:
• Sales of vehicles and auto parts jumped 11.1 percent to $3.85 billion.
• Purchases in building materials and gardening stores rose 11.4 percent to $1.76 billion
• General merchandise stores reported $2.62 billion in taxable sales, up 4.66 percent
• Trade in accommodations, restaurants and bars statewide increased 10.64 percent to $4 billion.