New numbers from the Washington State Department of Revenue show that holiday shoppers helped boost the state’s taxable retail sales in the fourth quarter of 2016, reaching $38.2 billion.
That’s a 6.4 percent climb over the same period in 2015. That same holiday spirit also contributed to a 5.9 percent bump in retail trade sales, which totaled $17.1 billion for the fourth quarter of 2016. (Taxable retail sales includes transactions subject to the retail sales tax; retail trade, on the other hand, is a subset of all taxable retail sales that includes items such as clothing, furniture and automobiles, but excludes other industries, such as services and construction.)
The South Sound particularly has been a beneficiary of the bump. Of the top 10 most populated counties in the state, Pierce and Thurston are third and fourth, respectively, in overall taxable retail sales increase. Pierce’s taxable retail sales rose 8.9 percent during 2016’s Q4 to $3.97 billion, while Thurston’s grew 8.1 percent to $1.29 billion.
Among most populous cities, Tacoma saw a 12.8 percent spike to $1.38 billion.
Statewide, taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 10 percent, reaching $3.31 billion. Lawn and garden supplies and equipment sales rose by 13.0 percent to $161.6 million, while drug and health stores’ sales rose 18.8 percent, reaching $739.9 million. Taxable e-commerce and mail order sales increased 11.0 percent to $872.6 million.