County grows in retail sales

New numbers released by the state Department of Revenue shows that Island County experienced a healthy growth in all taxable retail sales from the year 2016 to 2017.

Oak Harbor, however, experienced below average growth in the retailing industry and Coupeville’s growth in all taxable retail sales was also below average.

The category of all taxable retail sales covers a wide spectrum of industries, including construction, manufacturing, and accommodations and food service.

The retailing industry is a subset consisting of retail stores such as gas stations, auto parts and general merchandise.

The state average increase from 2016 to 2017 in all taxable retail sales was 6.5 percent.

The average increase in the retailing industry was 5.5 percent.

“Continued gains in construction and auto sales sent taxable retail sales climbing to a record $155.3 billion in 2017,” the Department of Revenue reported.

Unincorporated Island County fared far better than the state average.

All taxable retail sales increased by more than 16 percent from 2016 to 2017.

The retailing industry increased by 15.5 percent during that period.

Langley’s increases were more modest, but still above the state average. All taxable retail sales increased by 8 percent in the same period. The retailing industry increased by 6.5 percent.

Oak Harbor had a mixed bag. While the increase in all taxable retail was a healthy 11.7 percent, the retailing industry went up only 3.9 percent.

All taxable retail trade in Coupeville increased by 3.4 percent and the retailing industry increased by 11 percent.

A breakdown in different types of business that generate sales taxes shows the difference in economies in different parts of the county.

In unincorporated Island County and Coupeville, construction accounted for the greatest amount of taxable sales.

In Oak Harbor, retail trade was the industry that generated the most taxable trade.

In Langley, accommodations and food service generated the greatest amount of taxable sales.

The total amount of taxable retail trade in unincorporated Island County was $572 million in 2017. In Oak Harbor, the total was $440 million. In Coupeville it was $70 million and in Langley it was $48 million.

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