Taxable sales still falling, but not as fast |

Taxable sales still falling, but not as fast

For the second month in a row, booming auto sales offset weakness in other areas of Carson City’s economy, helping March end with total taxable sales just under where they were a year ago.

Helped by the opening of Dick Campagni’s new Toyota complex, auto dealers reported a 22.4 percent increase in taxable sales for March, a total of $14.5 million. That comes on the heels of February’s 21 percent increase.

General Manager Dana Whaley said March sales were very good, with the new dealership opening officially March 15 and some incentives provided by Toyota to help rebuild consumer confidence after vehicle recalls.

“We took off,” he said.

Whaley said the boom has continued and that April’s numbers are even better.

Toyota’s competition in the capital also did well in March. Capital Ford Hyundai had an excellent month, according to manager Tim Milligan, as did the Honda Subaru dealership owned by Michael Hohl.

But the automotive sales increase was offset by falling sales in retail and construction categories. The biggest hit was to general merchandise stores, down 9.4 percent to $13.5 million, and miscellaneous retailers, down 20 percent for the month to $1.3 million. Furniture sales fell 23 percent, electronics and appliances nearly 13 percent and health and personal care sales 17 percent.

On top of those numbers, food and drink sales fell

5.1 percent to $6.4 million.

In the end, Carson City was down a half percent overall with $62.6 million in total taxable sales.

“For us this is positive,” said City Manager Larry Werner.

He said the city built the budget based on a 13 percent decline in revenues and that, overall, they are “right on target” at 12.9 percent.

With two months of strong showing by auto dealers, Werner said he is hopeful next month might be even better.

“I’m excited, not cocky, but excited,” he said.

Carson City wasn’t alone in seeing a solid increase in auto sales. Statewide, that category was up 10.7 percent helping to hold the decline in total taxable sales for the month to 7.4 percent – the fourth straight month of single-digit percentage declines following 14 straight months of double-digit drops.

Total sales statewide were $3.33 billion.

Statewide, the industry hurting the worst remains construction where categories combine for a 57.6 percent drop compared to March 2009.

The tourist industry, on the other hand, seems to be continuing its recovery with an overall 26.6 percent increase in taxable sales for hotels.