Sacramento, CA, June 15, 2012, noon - In the first quarter of 2011, taxable sales in California rose 9.0 percent from a year earlier, continuing an upward trend that began in the first quarter of 2010, according to Michelle Steel, Vice Chair of the California State Board of Equalization. A preliminary statewide estimate for the first quarter of 2012 projects taxable sales rising 9.3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011. The projection is subject to revisions and will not be final until this time next year. The Southern California region’s taxable sales grew by 8.7 percent over the first quarter of 2011, slightly behind the State as a whole. As a result of soaring gas prices, which rose 20.0 percent, taxable sales made by gasoline stations increased 22.4 percent. Taxable sales by vehicle dealers also increased 17.4 percent. Taxable sales from total retail and food services stores rose 8.8 percent, somewhat lower than the increase by total non-retail outlets, which include business equipment and construction materials. Those outlets rose 9.5 percent, consistent with the national trend. The rest of the major retail sectors had taxable sales growth less than the overall average of 9.0 percent. Increases in these other retail sectors ranged from a low of 2.8 percent for sporting goods to a high of 7.1 percent for non-store retailers.