Retail sales hit nearly $45 billion in third quarter 2018 thanks, in part, to strong sales in construction and new and used automobiles, according to a recently released report from the state’s Department of Revenue.

During the third quarter (July – September), taxable retail sales increased by 8.3 percent compared with the same period the previous year, reaching $44.7 billion.

Retail trade, a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state, also increased by 6.9 percent to a total of $18.6 billion. Retail trade includes sales of items such as clothing, furniture, and automobiles, but excludes other industries, such as services and construction.

Taxable retail sales are transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by retailers, the construction industry, manufacturing and other sectors.

According to the Washington State Department of Revenue’s quarterly report, highlights of third-quarter 2018 taxable retail sales and retail trade sales include:

  • Construction rose 11.6 percent to $9.5 billion;
  • Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 4.9 percent to $3.7 billion;
  • Sales at general merchandise stores, including warehouse clubs and superstores, increased 13 percent to $2.7 billion;
  • Electronic and appliance store sales jumped 12.8 percent to 1 billion.

Of the top 10 most populated counties in the state, Kitsap and Skagit counties enjoyed the largest overall taxable retail sales percentage increase. Bellevue and Renton saw the largest increase of the most populated cities, the agency noted.