Douglas sales taxes level despite Target opening
Douglas County sales didn’t boom with the opening of Target in October, but the store just south of the Carson City line may have helped offset an otherwise bad month.
Total taxable sales were up 3.5 percent statewide in October, far below the 8.1 percent rise in September. That equates to $2.4 billion in sales for the month.
Douglas officials were hoping to see a boost because Target opened its doors Oct. 9. In fact, sales were up 6.4 percent in the county to $38.7 million.
That brings Douglas County to about 5 percent higher for the first four months of the fiscal year – some $170 million in total sales.
The Target opening may be largely responsible for the 9.6 percent increase in sales by miscellaneous retail stores to $3.3 million for October.
Accompanied by increases in the county’s other major sales tax categories, the retail sales turned an otherwise bleak month in Douglas into a solid gain in total sales.
The other gains were a 7.4 percent increase in sales by eating and drinking places, primarily the Stateline area casinos, a 57 percent increase in auto dealer and gasoline sales to $4.5 million and a 31.7 percent increase in building materials and hardware sales to $4 million.
Outside of those categories, however, it wasn’t a good month. In fact, 30 of the 75 categories in which Douglas businesses report sales tax were down for October.
At the same time, Carson City’s numbers were down 3.7 percent from October 1998 to $59.2 million and its miscellaneous retail off 17.1 percent to $4.7 million.
“Frankly, I’m more concerned that this is the third straight month Carson City has been down,” said Carson Treasurer Al Kramer.
As for the retail numbers and Target’s impact, he said, “I don’t understand those numbers.”
He said since Carson City’s taxable sales are half again Douglas’s numbers, a direct shift in business from Carson to Douglas should translate to a bigger percentage change for Douglas than Carson.
“There’s got to be something else going on there,” he said.
Douglas officials expect another boost in sales when the Home Depot now under construction near Target opens for business.
The 3.5 percent statewide increase was carried by solid gains in the same categories as in Douglas. Eating and drinking taxable sales were up 17.4 percent, auto dealers and gas sales up 9.9 percent and miscellaneous retail up 8.1 percent overall.
Again, many other categories were flat or down.
The third straight poor month for Carson City leaves the county down a tenth of a percent for the fiscal year through Oct. 31.
Carson’s top tax generator, automotive and gasoline dealers, increased total sales only 2.6 percent for the month.
In Lyon County, total taxable sales were also down – but only by seven tenths of a percent. The total was $16.7 million for October. But that is in line with flat sales in the county for the fiscal year to date – up just 1.7 percent overall.
Clark County was up 4.7 percent for the month to $1.7 billion and 7.3 percent for the first third of the fiscal year to $6.7 billion in sales.
Statewide gross revenue collections form sales and use taxes came to $171.9 million for October, which is 6.8 percent higher than the same month of 1998. Fiscal year totals for tax collections are 10.6 percent higher than last year.