Retail sales in the Midcoast in January were down from a year ago, ending a one-month break from a 16-month string of lower sales.

Overall retail sales in January for a region that includes all of Knox County as well as the adjacent Waldo County towns of Islesboro and Lincolnville were $21 million, down 3 percent from January 2009.

The figures for 2010 were down 17 percent from the record January sales set in 2008 of $25.2 million. The January 2010 sales were the lowest for the month since $21 million in 2002.

The decline in 2010 was felt across most businesses, according to the figures released by the Maine Bureau of Revenue Services. The largest drop percentage-wise was in lodging, which fell by 9 percent to $298,000.

Department store sales fell 2 percent to $4.3 million.

Motor vehicle sales in the region were down 2 percent compared with a year earlier, falling to $3.7 million.

Restaurant sales dropped 5 percent to $2.8 million.

And a miscellaneous group of stores that includes gift shops, antiques stores, jewelers, pharmacies, and sporting goods stores reported sales down 7 percent to $1.8 million.

Building supply sales were unchanged at $4.8 million.

Sales of taxable items at food stores were unchanged at $3.3 million. Most food is exempt from the state’s sales tax and thus not included in the revenue bureau’s figures.

Local retail sales have been down from the previous year for 17 of the past 18 months. The one break came in December, which saw higher sales.

The 3 percent decline in overall retail sales in the region matched the 3 percent statewide decline in January as retail sales dropped across the state to $836 million.

In Lincoln County, retail sales were down 7 percent in January, falling to $11.1 million. The drop was due largely to motor vehicle sales, which fell 15 percent to $3 million.

Building supply sales in Lincoln County were down 3 percent to $2 million. Sales of taxable items at food stores dropped 3 percent to $2.8 million. Sales at the miscellaneous group of stores were up 8 percent to $1.1 million. Department store sales were up 7 percent to $735,000.

Retail sales in January in other regions of the state were:

* Augusta $51 million, down 6 percent.

* Bangor $90 million, down 2 percent.

* Bar Harbor $3.4 million, down 17 percent.

* Belfast $8 million, down 1 percent.

* Brunswick $35 million, down 3 percent.

* Ellsworth $21 million, down 2 percent.

* Kittery $20 million, down 1 percent.

* Lewiston $52 million, down 1 percent.

* Portland $124 million, down 3 percent.

* Presque Isle $21 million, unchanged.