Camden area saw slight decrease in both early summer months

June sales down, July sets record for Rockland merchants

By Stephen Betts | Oct 09, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Rockland-area retailers saw record sales in July after a sluggish June, according to the state.

And Camden-area merchants recorded sales down about 1 percent in both June and July compared to the same months in 2017.

The Maine Bureau of Revenue Services' monthly retail sales reports detail the ups and down by categories of business.

In July, the Rockland area (comprised of all of Knox County except Camden, Rockport, Hope and Appleton) recorded taxable retail sales of $44.6 million. This was nearly 9 percent more than the $41 million in 2017 and set a record for the month.

June was less positive, with total consumer retail sales of $42.6 million, down 3 percent from the previous June. This follows record sales in January, February and May for the Rockland area.

At the monthly Morning in Maine gathering for Rockland Main Street held Tuesday, Oct. 9, Shelby Riley of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Thomaston and Rockland Harbor Hotel in Rockland told the gathering that it has been a great year for the businesses.

Benjamin Dorr of the men's consignment shop Curator also said his business has experienced a great year.

Barrie Pribyl of Rockland candy maker Bixby & Co. said this has been a fantastic summer for the business.

Motor vehicle sales were the largest single category of sales for the Rockland area in July, reaching nearly $9.8 million. This represents a 6 percent jump from 2017. In June, motor vehicle sales totaled $8.8 million, down more than 10 percent from June 2017.

Building supply sales were strong in both months, reflecting a healthy construction market. Building supply sales for the Rockland area in July totaled $8.5 million, up about 4 percent. In June, building supply sales totaled $9.6 million, down 5 percent from 2017. Last June, however, had set a record for building supply sales in the Rockland market.

General merchandise sales -- mostly from department stores -- were about $8.2 million in July -- nearly the same as in 2017. In June, general merchandise sales totaled $8.3 million, about 1 percent more than a year earlier.

Restaurants saw their cash registers ringing to the total of $7.2 million in July, a leap of about 11 percent from July 2017. Restaurants reported sales of $5.7 million in June, a jump of about 14 percent from the previous year.

Lodging businesses saw a 5 percent increase in sales, reaching nearly $2.9 million in July. in June, lodging sales for the Rockland area rose about 6 percent from a year earlier, approaching $1.8 million.

Food stores reported sales of taxable items of nearly $5.1 million in July, about a 2 percent increase. In June, taxable sales totaled $4.8 million, about a 4 percent increase.

Most food is exempt from the state's sales tax and is not included in the revenue service figures.

A miscellaneous group of shops such as antiques stores and gift shops reported sales of $3 million in July for the Rockland area, up about 6 percent. In June, this group of stores reported sales of $3.6 million, down about 6 percent.

Camden area

The Camden area reported consumer retail sales of $24.4 million in July and $19.1 million in June, both were down 1 percent from 2017, in which June and July were record months.

Lodging businesses were the largest single category of sales for the Camden area in July, totaling $7.1 million. This was down about 1 percent from a year earlier. In June, the Camden area reported lodging revenue of nearly $3.8 million, down about 2 percent.

Restaurants in the Camden area plated $6 million in revenues during July, down 10 percent. In June, restaurants reported $4.2 million in revenues, unchanged from a year earlier.

The miscellaneous group of stores that includes gift shops recorded $3.5 million of sales in July, up about 3 percent from a year ago. During June, these stores recorded a 1 percent increase from the previous year, reaching $3.7 million.

Food stores in the Camden area reported $3.2 million in taxable sales during July, a jump of 11 percent. During June, food stores had $2.9 million in taxable sales, up about 5 percent.

Camden-area general merchandise sales totaled $1.7 million during July, unchanged from 2017. June sales totaled $1.4 million, up about 10 percent.

Building supply sales in the Camden area for July totaled $1.6 million, a jump of more than 10 percent. Building supply sales were also strong in June, at more than $1.8 million, about the same as the previous June.

Motor vehicle sales totaled $1.3 million in July, up about 4 percent. For June, motor vehicle sales also totaled $1.3 million, down more than 25 percent from the previous June.

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