Thurston County taxable retail sales were flat in the first quarter of 2010, ending a streak of eight consecutive quarters in which county retail sales data showed steep year-over-year declines, according to state Department of Revenue data released Thursday.
Statewide retail sales fell in the first quarter, although the decline wasn’t as steep as it has been in past quarters. Year over year, statewide retail sales fell 2.9 percent, largely because of an 18.3 percent drop in sales generated by the construction industry.
Consumer and business spending bottomed out in the fourth quarter of 2009 and is expected to gradually improve through end of 2010, said Eric Swenson, senior economist with the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.
Meanwhile, overall taxable retail sales in Thurston County fell 0.14 percent in the first quarter of 2010 from the first quarter of 2009. The year-over-year first-quarter data show:
Thurston County: Fell 0.14 percent to $850.2 million from $851.4 million.
Lacey: Fell 7.74 percent to $206 million from $223 million.
Olympia: Rose 5.58 percent to $393 million from $372.3 million.
Tuwmater: Fell 3.85 percent to $88.9 million from $92.4 million.
Yelm: Fell 4.34 percent to $34.3 million from $35.8 million.
The state also releases a separate category of retail sales data known as “retail trade,” which better reflects consumer purchases and excludes the construction industry. The data show:
Thurston County: Rose 2.11 percent to $425.8 million from $417 million.
Lacey: Rose 1.59 percent to $127.9 million from $125.9 million.
Olympia: Rose 0.62 percent to $190.8 million from $189.6 million.
Tumwater: Rose 4.17 percent to $44.7 million from $42.9 million.
Yelm: Rose 3.55 percent to $20.4 million from $19.7 million.
By industry sector in the county’s two largest cities, Lacey’s overall taxable retail sales in the year-over-year first-quarter were pulled lower by a 51.8 percent drop in sales generated by the construction industry. In Olympia, taxable retail sales generated by construction grew by 29 percent in the same period, as did auto sales.