The state’s total taxable retail sales hit $39.4 billion during the first quarter of 2019, a 4.9 percent boost compared with the year-ago period, thanks, in large part, to a steady increase in construction.

Retail trade, a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state, also increased by 4.6 percent to a total of $16.5 billion.

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

In Pierce County, taxable retail sales reached $4.2 billion, up 5.4 percent year-over-year, and retail trade reached $2 billion, up 5 percent.

Highlights of first quarter 2019 (January to March) taxable retail sales and retail trade sales include:

  • Construction rose 8 percent to $8 billion;
  • Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers decreased 1.7 percent to $3.2 billion;
  • Building materials, garden equipment and supplies sales rose 3.4 percent to $1.6 billion; and
  • Drug and health store sales jumped 7.1 percent to $786 million.