Despite a slip in sales in November, Douglas County merchants gained enough traction to post strong gains in the month of December, according to data released by the Nevada Department of Taxation last week.
County businesses produced a total of $62.7 million in taxable sales for the last month of the year, up 8.1 percent from $58 million posted in December 2011.
For the fiscal year to date, which started July 1, taxable sales have reached $312.8 million, representing a 5 percent increase from the same time period in 2011.
Miscellany appeared to lead the way in December, with miscellaneous manufacturing jumping 3,734 percent year-over-year from $125,530 in sales to $4.8 million.
Exactly which local companies, outside traditional categories, produced such growth remains a mystery. Some in the business community speculated that large seasonal orders might have been responsible.
But manufacturing wasn't alone in the mystery. Miscellaneous store retailers gained 25 percent in sales in December, from $725,748 to $907,003, and nonstore retailers jumped 15.3 percent, from $899,985 to $1.04 million.
The former category includes sales that don't fall into one trade area, and the latter includes sales occurring in places other than traditional storefronts.
The rise of miscellany, though, didn't prevent traditional categories from performing well in December. Wholesale of durable goods rose 30 percent year-over-year, from $4.25 million to $5.52 million, while wholesale of nondurable goods posted a more modest gain of 4.8 percent, from $767,383 to $804,209.
December was the first full month without a car dealership in Carson Valley. Michael Hohl Automotive Group closed their Minden location halfway through November. But losses for motor vehicle and parts dealers weren't as steep as expected. The category slid 9 percent, from $1.94 million in December 2011 to $1.76 million in December 2012, meaning auto supply stores have been producing the lion's share of revenue.
Furniture and home decor stores, electronics and appliance stores, and building material and garden equipment stores all saw double-digit losses for the month.
But food and beverage stores posted a 21.4 percent gain, from $3.73 million to $4.52 million, and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores rose nicely by 14.2 percent, from $1.9 million to $2.2 million.
General merchandise stores dipped 4.7 percent, from $10.8 million to $10.3 million. Food services and drinking places, the county's largest sales generator, rose 7.5 percent, from $11.2 million to $12 million.
Two categories that outperformed the previous year were telecommunications, which increased 48 percent, from $704,268 in sales to $1.04 million, and professional, scientific and technical services, which increased 87 percent, from $1.02 million in sales to $1.91 million.
Statewide, taxable sales of $4.34 billion represented a 3 percent increase over December 2011 and a 5.1 percent increase for the fiscal year.-
The largest increases in statewide taxable sales were realized by food services and drinking places, up 5.4 percent; specialty trade contractors, up 60.9 percent; motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 10 percent; clothing and accessories stores, up 5.9 percent; and telecommunications, up 38.2 percent.
Eight of Nevada's 17 counties recorded an increase in taxable sales for the month. Churchill, Elko, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Lyon, Pershing, Washoe and White Pine counties recorded a decrease.
Gross revenue collections from sales and use taxes amounted to $336.51 million for December 2012, which represented a 3.6 percent increase compared to December 2011 and a 5.6 percent increase for the first six months of fiscal year 2013.
The General Fund portion of the sales and use taxes collected for the month amounted to $84.2 million, a 2.1 percent increase year-over-year. Compared to the November 2012 Economic Forum projections and based on department analysis, the General Fund portion of the sales and use taxes is approximately 2 percent, or $9.3 million, below the forecast for fiscal year 2013 through the December period.-