Taxable retail sales increase 1.5 percent in first quarter

OLYMPIA — Taxable retail sales increased 1.5 percent to $23 billion during the first quarter of 2011 over year-earlier results, the Department of Revenue has reported.
Retail trade increased 4.2 percent to $10.7 billion compared to the first quarter of 2010. Retail trade is a subset of all taxable retail sales that includes retailers but excludes other industries such as services and construction.
Among major industries, the construction sector was down 9.8 percent to $3.2 billion, but sales by new and used car dealers jumped 11.9 percent to $1.9 billion. Accommodations and food services rose 4.6 percent to $2.6 billion, while building materials, garden equipment and supplies sales dropped 8.6 percent to $842 million. Despite positive numbers in most retail sectors, sales by general merchandise stores dropped 0.3 percent to $2.2 billion.

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