Douglas and Lyon counties led the state with 16- and 13-percent increases in taxable sales for December - in large part, according to the numbers, at Carson City's expense.
Sales by Douglas County stores rose from $39 million in December 1998 to $45.2 million this past December. It was the second straight month of double-digit gains for the county since the opening of the Target store in the complex just south of the Carson City line.
For December, the amount reported for general merchandise stores jumped by a factor of 10 from $420,817 to $4.4 million.
But the county totals were also boosted by a 29.7 percent increase in sales by auto dealers and gas stations to $3.9 million and wholesale trade in durable goods, which rose 26.7 percent to $2.3 million.
The county's largest single category, the eating and drinking places which include Stateline resorts, reported a flat 1.9 percent increase in taxable sales.
The increase is similar to that reported in November when general merchandise sales in Douglas jumped from $318.029 to $2.5 million. County officials attribute almost all of the increase in that category to the Target store.
In both months, half of the total increase was attributable to that single category.
In Lyon County, the big increase was in sales by food stores, which increased 31.4 percent to $1.99 million compared with December 1998. The big difference this year is the Smiths store in Dayton, which is siphoning off business that once came to Carson City from the Dayton, Silver Springs and Stagecoach areas as well as down Six Mile Canyon from Virginia City.
And miscellaneous retail stores showed a 55 percent increase to $2.5 million while business services increased 79.8 percent to $610,614.
Countywide, Lyon sales increased 13.3 percent in December to $17.3 million.
In Carson City, meanwhile, taxable sales rose just 3.3 percent to $74.6 million. And while several other categories of sales showed positive numbers in December, general merchandise sales in the capital were down 4.2 percent to $17.9 million. That offset most of the dollar increase generated by a 7.9 percent increase in auto and gas dealer sales, which finished the year with a $13.3 million month. Food sales were off a half-percent in the capital.
Bright spots for Carson City included an 18.5 percent increase in building materials and hardware sales to $4.3 million, a 21.6 percent increase by eating and drinking places to $5.6 million and a 16.3 percent rise in miscellaneous retail sales to $8.7 million.
The increase will not, however, show up as more revenue to Douglas County because the county is one of Nevada's "guarantee counties" - smaller counties protected from revenue losses caused by residents shopping elsewhere. Douglas already receives far more revenue under the state formula than it generates from sales taxes and will get little more from new stores and increased sales until it passes the formula amount.
Statewide, taxable sales totaled $2.9 billion for the month, a 5.3 percent increase over the $2.7 billion in December 1998 and nearly $400 million more than November totals.
Statewide, general merchandise stores had a good month, increasing total sales by 13.2 percent. And wholesale trade in durable goods was up 17.8 percent statewide.