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Taxable retail sales up 5.8 percent in fourth quarter

In a sign that the state’s economy continues to improve, taxable retail sales were up in the fourth quarter of 2013 by 5.8 percent. Taxable retail sales between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013 reached $31.1 billion – a $1.7 billion increase over the same period in 2012, according to the Washington State Department of Revenue’s quarterly analysis.

Fourth quarter retail trade purchases increased by 4.9 percent over the same time the previous year, to $14.7 billion.

Retail trade is a subset of total taxable retail sales and includes purchases of clothes, home furnishings, books, cars and general merchandise but excludes sales in industries such as manufacturing and construction.

Largest gains in taxable sales

Most categories saw increases in fourth quarter taxable sales:

• E-commerce grew by 19.7 percent, to $599 million

• New and used car sales increased by 11.4 percent, to $2.5 billion

• Lawn care supplies rose by 11.4 percent, to $119 million

• Manufacturing was up 10.6 percent, to $611 million

• Health and drug stores rose 8.1 percent, to $461 million

• Home furnishings were up 7.4 percent, to $551 million

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