Whatcom County retail sales rise 5.3 percent in 2013


Whatcom County retail sales were up in 2013, but not as much as the state average.

Last year Whatcom County retail sales totaled $3.4 billion, a 5.3 percent increase compared to 2012, according to data from the Washington State Department of Revenue.

Whatcom's increase was not as large as the rest of the state. Last year Washington tallied $117.1 billion in sales, a 7.4 percent increase compared to 2012.

Whatcom County was seventh-highest in the state for overall retail sales last year. King County had the highest total at $46.1 billion, followed by Pierce County at $12.2 billion and Snohomish County at $11.2 billion

Retail trade, a subset of overall sales that focuses on products sold in stores, totaled $1.7 billion in Whatcom County last year. That's a 5 percent increase compared to 2012. Retail trade in Washington state rose 6.4 percent for the same period, to $53.7 billion.

E-commerce was a major growth area in Whatcom County last year, with sales in that category rising 22.8 percent compared to 2012. Auto and auto parts sales rose 9.4 percent in 2013, to $277.8 million.

Whatcom sales in the general merchandise category, which includes big-box stores, were flat in 2013, rising less than 1 percent to $438.2 million.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Business Blog at bellinghamherald.com/business-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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