OLYMPIA — A steady increase in construction once again helped boost the state’s total taxable retail sales in the first quarter of 2019 by 4.9 percent over the same period in 2018, reaching $39.4 billion.

Retail trade, a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state, also increased by 4.6 percent to a total of $16.5 billion.

Taxable retail sales are transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by retailers, the construction industry, manufacturing and other sectors. Retail trade includes sales of items such as clothing, furniture and automobiles, but excludes other industries, such as services and construction.

These figures are part of a quarterly report released Aug. 13 by the Washington State Department of Revenue. The taxable retail sales figures compare the same quarter year-over-year to equalize any seasonal effects that would influence consumer and business spending.

Some highlights of the first quarter taxable retail sales and retail trade sales include:

  • Construction rose 8 percent to a total $8 billion
  • Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers dipped -1.7 percent to $3.2 billion
  • Building materials, garden equipment and supplies sales rose 3.4 percent to $1.6 billion
  • Drug and health store sales jumped 7.1 percent to $786 million

For more information, go to dor.wa.gov/about/statistics-reports.