Taxable retail sales in state hit $155.3 billion last year

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Continued gains in construction and auto sales sent taxable retail sales climbing to a record $155.3 billion in 2017, a 6.5 percent gain over calendar year 2016.

Retail trade sales also showed an increase of 5.6 percent to $66.7 billion in 2017. Pierce County had $16.1 billion in taxable retail sales, up 8.1 percent from the previous year.

Taxable retail sales includes transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by retailers, the construction industry, manufacturing and other sectors. Retail trade is a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state and includes sales of items such as clothing, furniture and automobiles, but excludes other industries, such as services and construction.

These figures are part of an annual report released by the Washington State Department of Revenue. The agency reports on a quarterly and annual basis the total taxable retail sales figures reported by businesses on their Washington tax returns. The agency uses Census Bureau classifications to report the sales revenues by sector.

Some highlights of 2017 taxable retail and retail trade sales:

  • Construction rose 10.2 percent to $30.9 billion.
  • Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 5.5 percent, reaching $13.6 billion.
  • Taxable e-commerce and mail order sales increased 11.1 percent to $3.1 billion.*
  • Drug and health stores’ sales rose 12.2 percent to $3 billion.
  • Lawn and garden supplies and equipment sales rose by 14.6 percent, reaching $836 million.

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