The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, but new numbers show many area residents have been shopping for a while now.
The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce released data Wednesday that shows retail sales in Albemarle County and Charlottesville are on the rise.
The sales tax data shows the overall retail sales in these areas increased by 4.12 percent over the first three quarters of 2012 compared to the same period during 2011.
The increase accounts for $65 million in additional retail sales, which do not include gasoline or auto sales.
Sales through September were also up in Greene and Louisa counties as well as the city of Waynesboro. However, sales dropped in Augusta County.
The president of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, Timothy Hulbert, says consumer confidence is behind the increase.
"We have come back from the so called great recession and the tepid recovery that has occurred since that recession and so we are looking forward to a good holiday shopping season," Hulbert said.
The chamber says as much as 30 percent or more of total annual retail sales in the region takes place in the last quarter of each year. This means an additional $600 million of retail sales is expected in Charlottesville and Albemarle in the 4th quarter.