Camden retailers see mixed results

Rockland-area businesses see record sales in April and May

By Stephen Betts | Jul 18, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Main Street Rockland

Rockland — Rockland-area merchants saw record May sales, the third straight month that businesses set new monthly marks for revenues, according to state figures.

The economic picture for the Camden area, however, was mixed.

The Rockland area (defined as all of Knox County except Camden, Rockport, Hope and Appleton) recorded retail sales of $37.5 million during May, a 2 percent increase from the nearly $36.7 million in sales in May 2018, according to the Maine Bureau of Revenue Services.

This follows an April in which retail sales for the Rockland area totaled $29.7 million, an increase of 4 percent. The $29.7 million was also a record for the month. March also was a record-setting month for Rockland-area merchants.

This followed four consecutive months of declining sales, compared to the previous year.

In May for the Rockland area, motor vehicle sales accounted for the largest amount of overall retail transactions. Motor vehicle sales totaled $9.9 million in May, an increase of nearly 8 percent from a year earlier.

Building supply sales totaled more than $9.3 million, the same as in May 2018.

General merchandise stores reported sales of nearly $6.9 million, about the same as a year earlier.

Restaurants reported sales of nearly $4.2 million, an increase of 2 percent.

Food stores recorded taxable sales of slightly more than $4 million, the same as a year earlier. Most food is exempt from the state's sales tax and is not included in the revenue figures.

A miscellaneous group of stores such as gift shops, antiques stores, jewelers, sporting goods and pharmacies reported sales of more than $2.4 million, less than a 1 percent increase from a year earlier.

And lodging businesses reported sales of $735,000, a 5 percent increase.

The 2 percent increase in overall retail sales in May for the Rockland area was better than the statewide sales trend. Overall retail sales in Maine in May were $1.89 billion, which was unchanged from May 2018.

Camden area

The Camden area (the four remaining Knox County towns in addition to the neighboring Waldo County towns of Lincolnville and Islesboro) recorded overall retail sales of nearly $12.8 million in May. This represents a nearly 4 percent decline from May 2018.

April sales for the Camden area totaled nearly $8.9 million, an increase of 1.5 percent from April 2018.

For May, the Camden area's largest category of sales was restaurants, which recorded revenues of nearly $3 million, a 4 percent increase from a year ago.

The miscellaneous group of stores reported sales of nearly $2.4 million, a drop of 10 percent.

Taxable sales at food stores totaled more than $2.2 million, an increase of 2 percent.

Lodging businesses reported sales of nearly $1.6 million, a decline of 2 percent.

Motor vehicle sales totaled less than $1.1 million, a decline of 10 percent from a year earlier.

And general merchandise sales were $889,000 during May for the Camden area, a decline of 3 percent.

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