Taxable retail sales posted strong gains in the first quarter of 2022, including in Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla counties.
Retail sales rose 5.5% in Benton County, 37% in Franklin and 9.3% in Walla Walla, according to the most recent figures released by the Washington Department of Revenue. Statewide, taxable retail sales rose an average of 10.75%, to $50.9 billion.
The increase followed strong gains over the same period in 2021. Local increases were driven up in part by abundant construction in the region, which is subject to sales taxes.
Pasco recorded a 43.6% increase, fueled in part by the construction of two massive distribution centers for Amazon Inc., a new processing plant for Reser’s Fine Foods and other development.
Kennewick retained its position as the area’s top retail destination, with $645.6 million in taxable sales, ahead of No. 2 Pasco at nearly $610 million.
Taxable retail sales form the basis for sales taxes, which are a significant source of revenue for state and local government. Retail sales and use taxes represent 51% of the state budget.
Local government typically adds its own tax to the 6.5% state rate.
Retail trade, a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state, also increased by 5% to $22 billion. Retail trade includes sales of items such as clothing, furniture and automobiles, but excludes other industries, such as services and construction.
Taxable retail sales are transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by retailers, the construction industry, manufacturing and other sectors.
These figures are part of a quarterly report recently released by the Washington State Department of Revenue, the most up-to-date data available. The taxable retail sales figures compare the same quarter year-to-year to equalize any seasonal effects that would influence consumer and business spending.
Some statewide highlights of first-quarter 2022 (January-March) taxable retail sales and retail trade sales include:
- Construction rose 8.0% to $10.1 billion.
- Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 6.4% to $4.2 billion.
- Sales of building materials, garden equipment and supplies increased 4.1% to $2.3 billion.
- Miscellaneous retailers’ sales increased 7.6% to $4.1 billion.
- Apparel and accessories sales rose 11% to $1.1 billion.
Several sectors struggled in the first quarter of 2022:
- Taxable retail sales at department stores dipped -19.4% bringing in $187.4 million.
- General merchandise sales decreased -1.3% to $2.86 billion.
Here’s a look at retail sales tax rates elsewhere in the Mid-Columbia:
- Unincorporated Benton County, $114 million, (-7.5%)
- Benton City, $15.4 million, +24%
- Unincorporated Franklin County, $57 million, (-1.3%)
- Kahlotus, $354,100 (-12.5%)
- Mesa, $4 million, +1.4%
- Walla Walla County, $341 million, +9.3%
- Unincorporated Walla Walla County, $80.8 million, +4.2%
- College Place, $49.8 million, +3.4%
- City of Walla Walla, $206.6 million, +13.5%
- City of Yakima, $583.5 million, +3.8%
- Yakima County, $1.2 billion, +6.4%