Nevada sales climb 4.3 percent in October
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Taxable sales in Nevada rose 4.3 percent in October compared with the same month last year, the Department of Taxation reported Wednesday, marking the 28th consecutive month of modest gains.
Nevada merchants sold $3.7 billion in goods in October, on which the state collected $287.7 million in gross sales and use taxes. Revenue collections climbed 6.5 percent for the month and nearly 6 percent for the first four months of the fiscal year that began July 1.
In Clark County, Nevada's population center that includes Las Vegas, sales of $2.6 billion represented a 5.2 percent increase from October 2011, the report said. But in northern Nevada's Washoe County, which includes Reno, sales totaled $465.2 million, down 2 percent from the same month last year.
Washoe was among six of Nevada's 17 counties to post a sales decline. The others were Churchill, Esmeralda, Pershing, Storey and White Pine.
Statewide gains were fueled by double-digit increases in sales of durable goods, vehicles and parts, clothing and accessories, and accommodations.
Vehicle and part sales rose 16.8 percent, while durable goods — items like household appliances expected to last at least three years — rose 22.2 percent. Clothing and accessories stores saw a 12.6 percent increase in October.
Accommodations, a key indicator on the health of Nevada's tourism economy, marked a nearly 56 percent increase in sales, the report said. But sales at bars and restaurants, another vital sign of the tourism market, were down 1.9 percent.
Other sectors posting gains included building material and garden equipment and supplies, up 10.7 percent, and specialty trade contractors, up 24.5 percent. But the construction industry as a whole, which was hammered by the Great Recession when Nevada's housing market collapsed, fell 0.7 percent in October.
The portion of gross sales and use tax collections that go to the state general fund to support public services totaled about $73 million in October, representing a 6.5 percent increase over October 2011. But the report noted that general fund collections for the fiscal year so far are $7.3 million, or roughly 2.5 percent, below revised projections made last month by the Economic Forum.
The forum, an independent panel of business and financial experts, forecasts how much taxes the state will collect. Its projections must be used by the governor and state lawmakers to build a budget.