Local merchants saw record retail sales during August, rebounding dramatically from the 2020 pandemic-plagued summer.

The Maine Bureau of Revenue Services reported the region — which includes all of Knox County as well as the adjacent Waldo County towns of Islesboro and Lincolnville — recorded $86.4 million in taxable retail sales during August.

This is the most sales for August on record, and 25 percent more than August 2020. But, August 2021 fell just short of the all-time record month set in July 2021, which had $86.7 million in taxable sales. August has been traditionally the month each year that has the most sales.

Some of the increase is due to higher prices, particularly in building supplies.

Building supply sales in the region totaled $13.3 million in August, an increase of 13 percent over the previous August. Building supply sales have been strong for the past two years as a larger than average number of people move into the area, buying homes and renovating them.

Motor vehicle sales continue to roar ahead during August, with sales totaling $13.7 million, a 12 percent increase from a year earlier. The sales of cars, trucks, sports utility vehicles, motorcycles and motorboats have been at a record pace for the past two years.

Sales of general merchandise products — such as those in department stores — totaled $10.9 million, a 17 percent leap from a year ago.

Restaurants continued their rebound with $14.9 million in sales during August. This represents a 45 percent increase from a year ago.

Lodging businesses recorded sales of $13.9 million during August, a 56 percent increase from 2020.

Sales of taxable items in food stores totaled $9.8 million in August, an increase of 12 percent.

Sales in a miscellaneous group of store that include gift shops, antiques stores, jewelers, pharmacies and sporting goods stores totaled $10 million in August, up 30 percent.

Retail sales in every month of 2021 have set records in the region.

Statewide, retail sales totaled $2.8 billion in August, up 18 percent.