Driven by jumps in construction and auto sales, Washington’s taxable retail sales rose to a record $145.9 billion in 2016.
That’s a 7.8 percent increase over calendar year 2015, according to the latest news from the state’s Department of Revenue.
In particular, construction rose 14.4 percent to $28 billion. And taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 8.7 percent, reaching $12.9 billion.
If you’re wondering how construction figures into the equation, taxable retail sales includes all transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by the construction industry, manufacturing and other sectors in addition to sales by retailers. Retail trade, on the other hand, 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.
There’s good news within that subset, too, with retail trade sales showing an increase of 6 percent to $63.2 billion for 2016, with several industries showing big gains.
Besides the aforementioned auto sales, e-commerce and mail order sales increased 11.9 percent to $2.8 billion. Lawn and garden supplies sales rose by 12.2 percent to $730 million. And drug and health stores’ sales climbed a whopping 17.3 percent, reaching $2.6 billion.