Taxable Sales Post Modest But Broad 4.8 Percent Gain In January

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s taxable sales climbed 4.8 percent in January to $3.15 billion, with increases in all major consumer categories except construction, the state Department of Taxation reported today.

It was the 19th month of taxable sales increases in Nevada and brought the increase for the fiscal year 2012 to date to 7.2 percent. Taxable sales increased by 6.1 percent in Washoe County and 3.5 percent in Clark County in January.

The biggest increases were seen in clothing and clothing accessory stores, up 12.8 percent; motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 8.1 percent; utilities, up 80.7 percent; bars and restaurants, up 2.4 percent; and merchant wholesalers-durable goods, up 8.2 percent.

Construction remained the weak link, down 17 percent in January over January 2011.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the report provides more evidence that Nevada’s economy is on the mend. Nineteen months of increases is a great trend, not only for retailers but for the state as a whole, he said.

“We saw an increase in 15 of the 17 counties as well as in most categories,” Wachter said. “We’re not seeing sales tax increases in just general merchandise or just food, we’re seeing it across the board.

“We’ll be excited when construction can start matching those trends, but for now the fact that we’re posting gains in large purchases as well as small purchases – for instance we’re seeing gains in car purchases as well as general merchandise – that is something we feel is positive and a great trend moving forward,” he said.

The optimism is expected to carry forward through the spring.

The association earlier this week reported that Nevada consumers are projected to spend upwards of $290 million on holiday meals, gifts, candy, spring clothing and decorations, flowers and greeting cards to help celebrate the upcoming Easter holiday, which falls on April 8 this year.

Peeps. / Photo by Evan-Amos via Wikimedia Commons.

The annual Easter spending survey, commissioned by the National Retail Federation (NRF), reported an increase in average spending per person of 11 percent in 2012 ($145.28) compared to last year ($131.04). The NRF attributes the rise to both unseasonably warm weather conditions in many parts of the country and improving consumer confidence levels.

Mary Lau, president of the Retail Association of Nevada, noted that Easter falls more than two weeks earlier than it did last year.

“Because Easter falls on vastly different calendar dates every year, the Easter displays in stores are a good reminder to consumers that the holiday is approaching and that it is time to start preparing to celebrate with family and friends,” she said.

Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, says the January taxable sales increase was broad based:

032912Wachter4 :27 across the board.”

Wachter says until construction recovers, gains in small and large categories is a great trend:

032912Wachter2 :21 trend moving forward.”

Wachter says the association expects an increase in Easter discretionary purchases:

032912Wachter3 :30 excited about that.”