New retail sales numbers for central Virginia show shoppers are spending their cash, and it is creating jobs around the region.
A report by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, released Thursday, says sales are up in Charlottesville and Albemarle for the first six months of 2012, compared to the same time last year.
Albemarle and Charlottesville, known as the region's "retail hub", have an increase of sales of $42 million. "That's a 3.99 percent increase, and that's very good," said Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce President Timothy Hulbert.
In fact, retail sales have consistently risen over the past two years. Although retail sales are still behind 2006 levels, Hulbert says it is still a step in the right direction.
"That converts to jobs, private investments, as well as local tax revenues," he stated.
Some of the top spots for shopping in Charlottesville are Seminole Square, Barracks Road, and the downtown mall. As for Albemarle County, the Hollymead Town Center and Walmart are the big ones.
The $1.087 billion in total retail sales for Charlottesville and Albemarle in the first part of the year represents a nearly 4 percent increase from 2011, and at the Blue Ridge Eco Shop they're seeing the change.
"I think that it's not just the economy getting better, I think the people are just trying to buy more locally and just making wiser choices when it comes to their purchases," said Eric Murphy, the store manager.
Murphy is urging people to continue making purchases right here at home. "When you buy from us, the money goes back to our local venders, which keeps everyone stronger," he said.
Retail sales have also gone up in Greene County, Louisa County, and Waynesboro but decreased in Augusta County.
Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce Press Release
The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce today released retail sales tax data showing aggregate retail sales in Charlottesville - Albemarle have increased by +3.99% over the first half of 2012 over 2011 levels. The data also showed that first half 2012 retail sales increased in Greene & Louisa Counties and Waynesboro, declining in Augusta County, compared to 2010.
Virginia Department of Taxation sales tax data compiled showed that Albemarle and Charlottesville, the region's "retail hub," accounted for $1.087 billion in total retail sales over the first half of 2012; in the aggregate an increase of +$42 million compared with the $1.045 billion in total sales in 2011's first half. Retail sales increased over the first half of 2012 within the City of Charlottesville by +12.28% while decreasing in Albemarle County by -2.08%. It is not clear however, by this data, that the mid-2010 adjustments to retail sales in Albemarle and Charlottesville have worked their way through the full reporting cycle. (It is important to recall that in mid-2010, Albemarle County officials undertook an analysis of retail sales reporting which revealed that businesses in the County with "Charlottesville" mailing addresses were reported incorrectly.)
Aggregate retail sales in Albemarle and Charlottesville, the region's retail hub, have risen consistently over the past two years; a reversal of the downward trend that began in late 2007 with the onset of the "Great Recession" (2007-2009). Still, retail sales overall continue to lag behind 2006 levels. During the first half of 2012 (January – June) compared to the first half of 2011, retail sales increased Greene County, +3.19%; Louisa County +12.98% and Waynesboro +8.29%, while retail sales decreased in Augusta County -4.14%.
According to the 2011 Chamber Jobs Report, the employment reporting sector of "Trade, Transportation & Utilities," holds the largest segment of jobs, 17,247 or 22.3% in the Chamber's Greater Charlottesville regional service area – virtually all created through private investment and general commercial activity. An increase in retail sales equates to a gain in jobs and local tax revenues while conversely a decline in retail sales equates to a loss of jobs and as well as a local tax revenue loss.
The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to representing private enterprise, promoting business and enhancing the quality of life in the Greater Charlottesville communities. Founded in 1913, Chamber member enterprises employ more than 45,000 men and women in the Greater Charlottesville region, representing an estimated total payroll of more than $1.75 billion a year.
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