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June 7, 2011 > Taxable sales up first quarter 2010

Taxable sales up first quarter 2010

Submitted By Anita Gore

Betty T. Yee, First District Member of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), announced on June 1, 2011, that an increase in California taxable sales in the first quarter of 2010 ended a 10-quarter decline. First quarter taxable sales totaled $108.6 billion, a year-on-year increase of $1.4 billion (or 1.3 percent) from 2009. The last quarter of positive growth in year-on-year taxable sales was the second quarter of 2007, when such sales rose 0.9 percent.

More recent data also indicate a more pronounced recovery. Board of Equalization staff estimate taxable sales have risen 8.5 percent in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period a year earlier, the biggest rise since the third quarter of 2005, when taxable sales rose 10.1 percent. Statewide taxable sales for the first quarter of 2011 are estimated at $117.8 billion.

"The beginning of positive growth in retail sales is a welcome indicator of our state's continued economic recovery," said Yee. "Nevertheless, for those Californians who are not yet experiencing the signs of positive economic growth, the Board of Equalization continues to provide assistance to taxpayers and small businesses wherever we can."

Regionally, Bay Area counties enjoyed the strongest growth in the first quarter of 2010, rising an average of 2.6 percent (twice the statewide total), while those in Southern California rose 0.9 percent. Alameda County saw a 3.3 percent year-on-year increase; Contra Costa experienced a 1.5 percent decline. Growth was generally weaker in the interior counties of the state; taxable sales in the San Joaquin Valley declined 0.5 percent (the only region to experience a decrease).

Taxable sales for the major cities in the nine-county Bay Area varied widely during the same period. For instance, San Jose saw an increase of 8.5 percent, San Francisco, only 0.1 percent and Oakland saw a 1.7 percent decline.

The Board of Equalization has converted business codes of sales and use tax permit holders to North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. First quarter 2010 is the first time year-on-year percentage changes are available by industry.

Gasoline station sales in the first quarter of 2010 increased to $10.3 billion. This 30 percent gain is the largest of any major category. The average pump price rose 40 percent during the same period lifting total taxable sales made by service stations. Gallons of gasoline purchased actually saw a year-on-year decrease of 1 percent from the first quarter 2009.

Clothing and clothing accessory stores saw a 7.9 percent increase, followed by 4.5 percent for general merchandise stores, the largest non-durable retail category for which taxable sales amounted to $10.2 billion in the first quarter of 2010.

Motor vehicle and parts dealers saw flat sales, rising only 0.7 percent. However, taxable sales of used car dealers rose 10.4 percent, while those of new car dealers increased by 0.4 percent.

Building materials dealers and gardeners slipped 0.1 percent, while sales by furniture and home furnishing stores declined by 0.5 percent. Electronics and appliance stores saw taxable sales decline by 5.5 percent.

Sales from "all other outlets" (comprised primarily of manufacturing and wholesale businesses) were down 4.8 percent, to $33.6 billion, in the first quarter of 2010.

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