Published August 01, 2012
Tumwater posts strong taxable retail sales data in first quarterROLF BOONE
Taxable retail sales rose sharply in Tumwater during the first quarter, marking another strong quarter for a city that has continued to benefit from its growing retail sector, including a new Walmart store that opened last summer, according to state Department of Revenue data. Thurston County and two other major cities in the county – Lacey and Yelm – also showed modest growth, an improvement over the fourth quarter of 2011, when retail-sales results mostly were flat. First-quarter retail sales in Olympia, which still generates the lion’s share of retail sales for the county, still were flat. But it was Tumwater that was the clear winner in the first quarter: overall taxable retail sales rose 7 percent in the year-over-year first-quarter period, while a separate category called “retail trade,” considered a better indicator of consumer spending, rose 23 percent in the same period, the data show. Here are the overall retail-sales results for the county and its largest cities for the first quarter of this year, compared with the first quarter of 2011. Thurston County: Rose 2.98 percent to $885.5 million from $859.8 million. Olympia: Rose 0.24 percent to $400.1 million from $399.1 million. Lacey: Rose 5.9 percent to $217.4 million from $205.3 million. Tumwater: Rose 7 percent to $97.5 million from $91.1 million. Yelm: Fell 1.97 percent to $35.6 million from $36.4 million. Tumwater’s growth has been spurred by several major retailers that have set up shop in the area of Trosper and Littlerock roads. The area is now home to Fred Meyer, Costco, The Home Depot, Walmart, Albertson’s and Walgreens. Here are the retail-trade numbers for the county and its largest cities for the same year-over-year period. Thurston County: Rose 2.17 percent to $447 million from $437.5 million. Olympia: Rose 1.51 percent to $202 million from $199 million. Lacey: Fell 4.36 percent to $122.6 million from $128.2 million. Tumwater: Rose 23.72 percent to $53.9 million from $43.6 million. Yelm: Rose 5.1 percent to $22.2 million from $21.1 million. Several industry categories contributed to Tumwater’s retail growth, but none contributed more than retail sales generated by electronics and appliances, which rose more than 300 percent to $4.7 million from $1 million. Sales at general merchandise stores rose 28 percent to $28.7 million from $22.3 million. In Olympia, retail sales generated by sales of new and used vehicles – the city is home to the Olympia Auto Mall – rose 6.4 percent to $64 million from $60 million. However, sales of electronics and appliances fell 14 percent and construction was weak, down 2.6 percent. Retail sales generated by general merchandise stores fell 4.2 percent in Lacey, but the city was helped by stronger construction numbers, which nearly doubled, growing 90 percent to $31.1 million from $16.3 million. Statewide taxable retail sales rose 4.7 percent to $24.1 billion in the first quarter. Note: Due to rounding, percentage figures in story might be slightly different than those released by the state Department of Revenue.