Charlottesville had a decline, but some of that may be due to missing tax information.
“When we look at the January numbers, there is in fact a significant bump in retail sales inside of the city of Charlottesville, which confirms city officials had thought - that there was a reporting anomaly there,” said Tim Hulbert, the chamber’s president.
Last year Albemarle County and Charlottesville accounted for $2.3 billion in retail sales. That's an increase of $49 million from 2012, and the highest recorded sales level since 2007 before the recession.
Regional Chamber of Commerce Press Release
(Charlottesville, Virginia – March 10) The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce today released compiled sales & use tax data which show that over the course of 2013, total retail sales rose across the region – in Albemarle, Augusta, Greene, & Louisa Counties and the City of Waynesboro, with only the City of Charlottesville showing an annual decline in total retail sales; perhaps due to a missing report.
Virginia Department of Taxation sales tax data compiled showed that retail sales during 2013 (January through December) compared to the full 2012 year were up in Albemarle County +6.87%; in Augusta County +8.34%; in Greene County, +2.41%; in Louisa County, +1.15%; and in Waynesboro +1.52% with total retail sales down in Charlottesville -3.69%.
Albemarle and Charlottesville, the region’s retail hub, accounted for $2.341 billion (+2.12%) in total retail sales over the full course of 2013 – an increase of $49 million from 2012 but still lower by $23 million (1%) from 2007 annual levels, the highest annual sales level reported and the last full year before the “Great Recession” of 2008-09 and subsequent slow economic recovery.
After a healthy sales gain in October and a slight gain in November, compared to 2012, the Holiday shopping season in December 2013 saw retail sales decrease a very disappointing -6.36% in Albemarle and Charlottesville combined. Reported Virginia Department of Taxation data for Charlottesville in December 2013 showed a -14.8% / -$15.5 million decrease in retail sales from the previous year. However city officials suspect one or two larger retailers in the City did not report December sales timely or the Virginia Tax Department adjustments concerning City/County reporting locations may be on-going. Preliminary analysis suggest that city officials’ concerns are accurate and will be reflected in the January 2014 report; an adjusted amount, reflecting the reporting delay, is likely to show a smaller retail sales decline within the city.
In addition to the retail associated jobs and private investment, a gain or loss in retail sales equates to a local tax revenue gain or loss. In 2013 there was a total sales tax revenue gain of more than +$867,000 for Albemarle while sales tax revenues, with December’s report in question, in Charlottesville declined -$380,000.
The 2013 Chamber Jobs Report data show that more than 17,800 jobs, 22.4% of all private sector jobs, within the Greater Charlottesville region, are in “Trade, Transportation & Utilities;” most of those in retail.
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