Taxable retail sales rose 7.6 percent during the fourth quarter of 2004 compared to the same period in 2003, according to the latest Quarterly Business Review published by the Washington Department of Revenue.
The 7.6 percent gain was the highest quarter-over-quarter growth since sales rose 10.1 percent during the first quarter of 2000, and it was the highest fourth-quarter since sales increased 9.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 1999.
Washington businesses reported $24.95 billion in taxable retail sales from October through December, up from $23.18 billion reported for the fourth quarter of 2003.
Retail trade was up 6.3 percent, at $13.46 billion compared to $12.66 billion in 2003. Retail trade is a subset of all sales that track sales at retail outlets only and excluded volatile sectors such as contracting.
Contracting generated the largest share of taxable retail sales at 17.2 percent, followed by auto sales at 8.9 percent and restaurant and bar sales at 7.2 percent.
Among the largest counties, King County recorded a 6.3 percent increase in overall taxable retail sales and a 4.4 percent increase in retail trade.
Klickitat County posted a -3.3 percent loss overall and a 3.3 percent gain in retail trade.
Skamania County on the other hand was up 40.4 percent overall and showed a 22.9 percent gain in retail trade.
Complete results of all counties and cities, including breakdowns of sales by industry sector are available online at www.dor.wa.gov.