Washington retail sales drop 14 percent - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington retail sales drop 14 percent

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state Department of Revenue says taxable retail sales in Washington declined to $25 billion in the second quarter of this year, a 14 percent drop from the same period last year.

The state said Friday that the April-through-June sales decline is the largest one on record. Sales were down 12.8 percent during the first quarter of this year, and 10.8 percent during the fourth quarter of last year, the second- and third-largest declines since reliable records have been kept beginning in 1974, state officials said.

Two of the biggest drops were in retail sales from construction, down 26 percent to $4.3 billion, and motor vehicle and parts, down 21 percent to $2.3 billion.

Experts offer mixed outlook on holiday sales

When it comes to holiday sales this year, it looks like retailers are in for a mixed bag.

Depending on the analyst and survey, holiday shoppers are expected to spend one percent more, one percent less or the same as last year.

The estimates are far off the mark from the 10 year average of more than three percent growth.

"Practical is going to be the name of the game for most shoppers," says the National Retail Federation's Scott Krugman. "Consumers, many of them, have the wherewithal to spend... but they're concerned, they're worried about the future of their job."

Retailers are already planning for cautious consumers.

Unlike last year, when businesses were left with too much inventory, stores are buying less merchandise this holiday.

They're also rolling out promotions early.

Wal-Mart kicked off its holiday pitch by announcing 100 toys will be offered at $10 each, looking to grab the attention of the estimated 40 percent of shoppers who start holiday buying before Halloween.

For the other 60 percent who get started closer to Thanksgiving, the advice: Don't wait too long.

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