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Local retailers see record sales in February

Restaurants, lodging places continue with lean times
By Stephen Betts | Apr 18, 2021
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Local retail businesses — other than restaurants and lodging places — saw record sales again during February.

This follows a record-setting January, according to figures provided by the Maine Bureau of revenue Services.

Overall retail sales for the region — that includes all of Knox County and the adjacent Waldo County towns of Lincolnville and Islesboro — during February totaled nearly $37.9 million, a 6% increase from the previous February record of $35.7 million set in 2020.

Motor vehicle sales led the way with them totaling $9.5 million, a 6% increase from February 2020.

Building supply stores also saw record sales, totaling nearly $8 million in February — a 26% increase. The stores have benefited from a continued building boom. Prices of building materials have also risen sharply.

General merchandise stores recorded a 5% increase, reaching nearly $6.5 million.

Food stores reported taxable sales of $5.7 million, a 7% increase. Most food is exempt from the state's sales tax and not included in the $5.7 million.

A miscellaneous group of stores that includes antiques stores, gift shops, jewelers, pharmacies and sporting goods reported total sales of $3.8 million in February, up 17% from a year ago.

Restaurants earned revenues of nearly $3.6 million, down 25% from February 2020.

Lodging places had revenues totaling $807,000 — a decrease of 31%.

The record February sales continues a trend that started last year with monthly records being set for overall sales despite declines in restaurants and lodging businesses.

Statewide, overall retail sales in February rose 10%, reaching $1.62 billion.

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