Washoe Co. sales tax falls 8% in March; auto sales, food & drink see massive decreases

CARSON CITY, Nev. — With non-essential businesses closed for half of the month, Nevada's taxable sales fell nearly 20 percent in March.

Total taxable sales were $4.53 billion, down 19.5 percent, according to a new taxable sales report released Friday by the Nevada Department of Taxation for the month of March.

Clark County took the biggest hit at 23.4 percent because of its heavy reliance on the tourism and hospitality industries.

Washoe County, meanwhile, posted a 7.9 percent decrease, down to $687,207,493 for March 2020 compared to $745,867,694 in March 2019.

Across the Silver State, with car dealer showrooms closed for half of March, auto sales fell 37 percent to $412 million.

The biggest beneficiary of the economic shutdown was to non-store retailers — internet sales — which better than doubled statewide to $301.8 million, a 111.6 percent increase.

Building material sales also did well, posting a 13.8 percent increase to $277.3 million.

In Washoe County, some of the more significant year-over-year decreases for March are as follows, according to the report:

  • Wood Product Manufacturing: Down 15.6 percent ($2,027,475 in March 2020 versus $2,403,342 last year)
  • Printing and Related Support Activities: Down 32.3 percent ($1,967,500 compared to $2,907,590)
  • Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing: Down 68.5 percent ($676,108 compared to $2,146,920)
  • Transportation Equipment Manufacturing: Down 40.2 percent ($1,029,346 compared to $1,722,116)
  • Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing: Down 23.8 percent ($2,059,091 to $2,702,406)
  • Auto Vehicles and Parts Sales: Down 33.8 percent ($70,643,624 compared to $106,649,853)
  • Electronics and Appliance Stores: Down 27.6 percent ($15,660,547 compared to $21,625,382)
  • Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores: Down 49.1 percent ($14,011,421 compared to $27,513,161)
  • Rental and Leasing Services: Down 44.4 percent ($20,285,116 compared to $36,461,851)
  • Food Services and Drinking Places: Down 31.9 percent ($74,338,664 to $109,103,189)

Meanwhile, other categories saw major increases in sales taxes in Washoe County, such as: Telecommunications (up 164.2 percent, from negative-$11,111,733 in March 2019 to $7,137,801 this year) and Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services (up 206.5 percent, from $5,465,317 in March 2019 to $16,748,741 this year).


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In Carson City, total taxable sales were $93.5 million, a 12.7 decrease compared to the same month in 2019. The big hit was the capital's largest taxable sales generator, the auto dealers. With their showrooms closed half the month, sales fell 38.2 percent to just $19.2 million.

But non-store retailers doubled total sales — a 106.4 percent increase to $4.8 million

Bars and restaurants were also shuttered March 17, cutting their sales 32 percent to just over $7 million.

As for in the state as a whole, sales of building materials increased 23.9 percent to $13.8 million.

Douglas County fared better than most of Nevada's 17 counties, reporting an 8.8 percent drop to $58.9 million. Sales by non-store retailers grew 123.3 percent as folks turned went online to buy, a total of $6.16 million worth of goods.

There, sales by non-store retailers was up 72.3 percent to $2.7 million.

Again, building material sales were up double digits gaining 23.3 percent to $4.48 million.

But those gains were more than offset by the closure of the county's major resorts, and hotels causing a 48 percent decrease in food services and drinking places to $5.8 million and a 57.2 percent decrease in accommodations to $1.3 million.

Churchill County saw table sales fall 18.4 percent to $31.1 million.

The biggest hit was to auto sales, which totaled just $3.46 million, down 60.1 percent because of the closure of showrooms.

Lyon County businesses reported $52.1 million sales. That is 16.7 percent down from March 2019. Restaurants and bars saw sales drop 22.7 percent to $3.4 million. Auto sales were off 25.3 percent to $4.58 million.

Non-store retail sales were up to a total of $5.6 million, a 127.7 percent gain.

April's numbers — which won't be available for a few weeks — are expected to be significantly worse since non-essential businesses were closed for the entire month.

NNBW Editor Kevin MacMillan contributed to this report.


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