Clark County’s taxable retail sales grew by 12.6 percent in last year’s fourth quarter, rising to $1.6 billion for the high-spending October-to-December quarter.
Of that countywide total, Vancouver recorded $921 million in taxable retail sales for a 12.8 percent one-year increase, the Department of Revenue reported Wednesday.
Looking at the subset of retail trade, which excludes services and construction, the county saw a 10.2 percent increase while Vancouver’s retail trade rose by 8.9.
Statewide, the Department of Revenue reported $35.9 billion in taxable retail sales in last year’s closing quarter, a 7.7 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2014. The retail trade subset rose by 4.7 percent statewide to $16.2 billion.
The percent sales increases for both Clark County and Vancouver were the highest in the state in comparison to large cities and counties. Retail sales increases in the state’s top 10 counties ranged from Clark County’s 12.6 percent to Yakima County’s 0.7 percent. Among the state’s top five cities, Vancouver’s 12.8 percent increase topped the list, while Spokane showed the lowest increase, at 2.8 percent.
The Department of Revenue report, which is based on an analysis of tax-return data, also included breakouts of sales in unincorporated Clack County and the county’s smaller cities. The unincorporated portion of Clark County recorded $458.6 million in retail sales, up 11.7 percent. Camas, the second-largest retail city after Vancouver, showed $62.7 million in sales, a 7.2 percent increase. Washougal, Ridgefield, and La Center reported increases ranging from 13 percent to 19 percent, while tiny Yacolt, with $3.3 million in retail sales, showed a 45 percent sales increase.
The Department of Revenue report highlighted some statewide trends by sales category for the quarter. It noted that sales in drug and health stores grew by nearly 20 percent, to $623 million, while taxable e-commerce and mail-order sales rose by 10 percent, to $786 million. Auto sales climbed by 9.5 percent to $3 billion, while sales of apparel and accessories only rose 0.65 percent, reaching $1.3 billion.