Retail sales throughout Knox County slipped slightly during summer 2017, compared to a year ago.

This was the first time since 2009 that sales have not increased for Knox County compared to the previous year, according to figures from the Maine Bureau of Revenue Services.

Retail sales for Knox County from July 1 through Sept. 30 totaled $184.6 million. This is down 1.5 percent from the $187.5 million in sales generated during the same three months of 2016.

The decline in overall retail sales in Knox County goes against the statewide trend. Statewide, overall retail sales totaled $5.9 billion for the July 1 through Sept. 30 period, an increase of 3.8 percent from a year earlier.

In Knox County, one group of businesses that saw sales increase during the summer compared to a year ago was the restaurant industry. Restaurants in Knox County reported sales totaling $34.4 million during July, August and September. This is a little more than a 1 percent increase from the summer of 2016.

Building supply stores also saw an increase from 2016. These stores had total sales $27.8 million, up 5 percent.

Food stores reported sales of taxable items totaling $21.7 million, less than a 1 percent increase.

Lodging businesses reported sales of $25.1 million during the past summer. This was a 6.2 percent drop from the same period in 2016.

Motor vehicle sales totaled $27.6 million in Knox County during the summer. This was a 3.5 percent decrease from 2016.

General merchandise stores (department and furniture stores) reported sales of $27.6 million. This was a drop of 5.2 percent. One factor in this decline was the closure of the Rockland J.C. Penney store in July.

A miscellaneous category of stores that includes gift shops, antiques shops, pharmacies, sporting good stores and jewelers had sales of $20.4 million. This was down less than 1 percent.

Gordon Page, executive director of Rockland Main Street Inc., said retailers who attended a meeting this week said this has been a good year and that they were experiencing a strong December. Bankers also said the economic news was good locally.