The latest sales tax figures from the California Board of Equalization show that Marin retail sales for the third quarter of 2009 were down 14% from the same period last year. Worst hit was San Rafael, which saw a 21% decline. Novato fared better, with a decline of 8%, while Corte Madera scored the best results, with 0% change from Q3 2008. Over California as a whole, retail sales were down 17%.
The chart above shows the annualized rate of change in retail sales. For the 12-months to September 30 sales fell to approximately $2.7 billion, approximately 18% below the peak of $3.3 billion achieved in 2007, and would have been even lower had it not been for the $100m+ impact of "cash for clunkers" auto sales in August.
Reports from malls and stores around the county suggest plenty of shopping activity over the holiday period. We'll see if this leads to a turnaround for retail sales in the new year.