Nevada Taxable Sales Sees Modest But Solid Gain In April

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s taxable sales climbed by 5.1 percent in April over April 2011, continuing a 22 consecutive month trend of positive numbers for the important economic indicator, the state Department of Taxation reported this week.

The $3.5 billion in taxable purchases in April were buoyed by double-digit gains in several major categories, including construction; up 16.1 percent, merchant wholesalers-durable goods, up 10.2 percent; and motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 10.5 percent.

For the fiscal year through April taxable sales are up 7.2 percent over the same period in the 2011 fiscal year.

Clark County was up 4.9 percent in April, while Washoe County eked out a small 0.2 percent gain. Thirteen of 17 Nevada counties reported gains in taxable sales in April.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the solid gains in April came even without a lot of shopping ahead of Easter, which fell on April 8 this year. Much of the Easter shopping came in March, he said.

“It did get a little bit warmer starting in March, so we saw a lot of purchases that people traditionally make when it starts getting warmer made a little bit earlier in the season than maybe last year,” he said. “All things considered April was a very good month.”

General merchandise stores were up 2.4 percent in April, clothing and accessories stores were up 1.8 percent, furniture and home furnishings were up 5 percent, and accommodations were up 13.4 percent.

The home furnishings increase, “is a great number, especially given our housing situation,” Wachter said. “The fact that that number has consistently remained up we view as positive.”

The accommodations number is good news, since Nevada needs its gaming and tourism industries to come back as well, he said.

Sales and use taxes collected from purchases are 4.2 percent ahead of projections for the state general fund for the fiscal year through April, meaning there is nearly $28 million more than was forecasted for the period.

Wachter said this will mean additional money for education and health and human services in the next budget cycle.

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Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said April was a good month for taxable sales:

062912Wachter1 :25 very good month.”

Wachter says the home furnishings increase is particularly good given the state of Nevada’s housing market:

062912Wachter2 :27 in that category.”