Only four Nevada counties reported increases in taxable sales for March as the statewide total slid 2.9 percent compared with March 2001.
Altogether, 118,666 businesses in the state reported a total of $2.8 billion in taxable sales for the month, bringing total sales for the nine months of this fiscal year to just under $23.6 billion.
Carson City was one of the four to show an increase in sales over last year. But six-tenths of a percent wasn't much to brag about. The Capital finished March with $75.4 million in taxable sales -- about $300,000 more than last March.
In Carson City, building construction and materials categories held up the numbers with solid increases. And general merchandise stores reported a 6.2 percent increase.
But automotive dealers and gasoline, the category which generates the most money each month in the capital, fell 4.3 percent to $20.2 million -- one of its rare negatives despite the economic troubles of recent months.
The other three counties reporting increases were White Pine (0.4 percent), Lander (14.9 percent) and Lincoln (15.3 percent).
The other 13 Nevada counties all reported lower total sales than the same month last year including Lyon where the total taxable dollars dropped 21.4 percent to $20.2 million. With the exception of construction and building materials, the numbers there were almost uniformly down. Even normally stable food store sales dropped 49.5 percent in Lyon.
Douglas County also showed decreases in most of its major revenue categories, including the mainstay eating and drinking category generated by Stateline and valley resorts. Total taxable sales there dropped 2.6 percent for the month to $13.2 million.
General merchandise revenues, fueled by the "big box" stores just south of the Carson City line, were a rare bright spot, posting a 3.5 percent increase to nearly $2.2 million in taxable sales.
Storey County was hardest hit of all Nevada counties in March. Taxable sales there dropped 44.4 percent to just $2.8 million for the month. Except for increases in general merchandise stores and auto dealers and gasoline, nearly every major category in Storey was down sharply.
To the north, Washoe County also stumbled economically, reporting a 6.2 percent decrease in sales for March -- a total of $449.6 million. In Clark County, total sales were off 1.6 percent to just over $2 billion.