County’s retail sales stay healthy

EVERETT — Despite an economic slowdown nationwide, Snohomish County enjoyed a healthy gain in taxable retail sales in the third quarter of 2007.

The county’s retail sales topped $3 billion for the quarter ending Sept. 31, 2007, third in the state behind King and Pierce counties.

That’s an increase of 5.1 percent over Snohomish County’s taxable retail sales for the same quarter in 2006.

Statewide, taxable retail sales in the third quarter of 2007 totaled $31.1 billion, a 5.9 percent increase over the same period in 2006, according to a report recently released by the Washington Department of Revenue.

During 2007, Snohomish County consistently posted strong job and growth numbers, which carried over to the county’s retail sales. The county created 22,500 jobs in 2007 and reported a growth rate of 9.2 percent, nearly four times the state average of 2 percent. Manufacturing, trade and construction helped lead the way in job creation.

In Everett, retail sales grew by 4 percent to $740 million in the third quarter of 2007. That’s fifth in the state behind Seattle with $4.4 billion, Bellevue with $1.5 billion, Tacoma with $1.2 billion, and Spokane with $1 billion.

Retail trade — sales of motor vehicles, electronics, groceries and department store goods — made up nearly half of Snohomish County’s taxable retail sales, with almost $1.48 billion in sales in the third quarter. Across the state, retail trade made up 42.4 percent, or $13.2 billion, of Washington’s taxable retail sales.

Sales from construction accounted for about 20 percent, or about $614 million, of the county’s taxable retail sales. That’s consistent with construction’s role statewide, which accounted for 21.5 percent, or $6.7 billion, of all taxable retail sales.

Among major industries statewide, new and used auto dealers dropped 2.2 percent to $2.6 billion, and restaurants, food services and drinking establishments rose 7.7 percent to $2.4 billion. In Snohomish County, auto dealer sales also declined 2.5 percent to $316 million, while sales from restaurants, food services and drinking establishments increased 8 percent to $222.7 million. Sales by general merchandise stores, which includes department stores, increased more than 6 percent in Snohomish County to $282 million, and 3.5 percent statewide to $2.5 billion.

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