Midcoast retailers saw sales jump 9 percent in February compared with a year ago.

This was the greatest increase in four years as retail sales in the region reached $21.9 million. That figure, however, was still more than 6 percent less than the February record of $23.6 million set in 2008.

The increase from one year ago was experienced by most, but not all, categories of businesses, according to the latest monthly report issued by the Maine Bureau of Revenue Services. The region covers all of Knox County as well as the adjacent Waldo County towns of Lincolnville and Islesboro.

This was the second month in the past three in which retail sales were more than during the same month a year earlier. The previous 16 months had been down compared with a year earlier.

The local increase was far greater than the 3 percent increase statewide.

The largest category of sales in February came from department stores, which recorded sales up 5 percent from a year ago, reaching $4.7 million.

Building supply stores saw sales rise 10 percent to $4.4 million. This was still down nearly 25 percent from the February record set in 2006.

Motor vehicle sales leaped nearly 33 percent from a year ago, reaching $3.8 million. This was still down about 25 percent from the February record reached in 2006.

Sales of taxable items in food stores remained about the same in February. Most food items are exempt from the state’s sales tax and are not included in the state report.

Restaurant sales rose 1 percent to more than $2.9 million.

Sales of items in a miscellaneous group of stores that includes gift shops, antiques stores, pharmacies, jewelers and sporting goods stores rose 14 percent to $2.4 million.

One group of businesses that saw sales fall were lodging establishments, which saw sales drop to $484,000 in February, down 12 percent.

More than half the $21.9 million in local retail sales originated in Rockland where $11.5 million of the purchases occurred. Camden sales totaled $3.4 million. Thomaston sales totaled $2.5 million. Rockport sales totaled $2.1 million. Warren sales totaled $1.5 million.

Lincoln County

Retail sales in Lincoln County rose 5 percent to $12.1 million.

Nearly one third of all retail sales in the county came from motor vehicle sales. Motor vehicle sales jumped 17 percent to $3.7 million.

Sales at food stores were about the same at $2.8 million.

Building supply sales dropped 12 percent to $2.8 million.

Restaurant sales rose 2 percent to $1.5 million.

The miscellaneous group of stores recorded sales of $1.2 million, up 4 percent.

Department store sales jumped about 25 percent to $877,000.

Lodging sales rose 33 percent to $111,000.

In Lincoln County, retail sales in Waldoboro were the third greatest for the county with transactions totaling $1.8 million. Wiscasset and Damariscotta had the most sales for individual communities.

Other regions

Retail sales in other parts of Maine for February were:

* Augusta $6 million, up 5 percent.

* Bangor $95 million, up 5 percent.

* Bar Harbor $3.6 million, down 16 percent.

* Belfast $8 million, up 3 percent.

* Brunswick $36 million, down 1 percent.

* Ellsworth $21 million, down 1 percent.

* Kittery $18 million, up 4 percent.

* Lewiston $56 million, up 5 percent.

* Portland $131 million, up 3 percent.

* Presque Isle $22 million, up 2 percent.

Statewide, retail sales rose 3 percent, reaching $852 million.