Report: 2018 1st Half Retail Sales Increased Compared to Same Time 2017

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The numbers are in, and retail sales in all central Virginia localities are up compared to this time last year.

However, the new report from the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce (CRCC) does not break down some key figures that would tell us how downtown Charlottesville fared post-Unite the Right.

CRCC surveyed retail sales in the last quarter - January to June 2018 - and compared them to that time last year. Over the first six months of this year, Albemarle County and Charlottesville accounted for $1.38 billion in total retail sales.

Although business owners say they agree revenue is rising, they think it's not where it should be. Businesses, specifically on the Downtown Mall, took a hit after August 12, 2017.

Although stores and restaurants were still up by 2 percent in December 2017, the beginning of that fall was a struggle for owners.

Business owners say that was partly due to the violent and deadly event that took place around the Downtown Mall, as well as the brief installation of parking meters at the start of September.

Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville Chair Joan Fenton, who owns two shops on the Downtown Mall, says many are still in a recovery mode.

"I think last year was an odd year, and I think a lot of people are still recovering from those losses," said Fenton. "I think everybody is doing OK, it's not stellar. But from what I'm hearing, particularly alcohol sales are up."

Fenton adds that people just really need to get the message out that the Downtown Mall is a special place filled with independently-owned businesses

Retail sales for Albemarle County went up by 2.6 percent, and Waynesboro had the largest gain with 9.6 percent.

Greene, Fluvanna, and Augusta counties also saw increases.

09/04/2018 Release from the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce:

(Charlottesville, Virginia – September 4) The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce today released compiled sales & use tax data which show that, over first half of 2018 (January-June), retail sales increased in every locality reported by the chamber as compared to the first six months of 2017.

Virginia Department of Taxation sales tax data compiled showed that retail sales during the first half of calendar year 2017 compared to the first half of calendar year 2016 year, increased: in Albemarle County +2.61%; in Charlottesville +4.42%; in Augusta County +3.03%; in Fluvanna County +8.99%; in Greene County, +4.06%; in Louisa County, +4.71; and, in Waynesboro +9.60%.

Over the first six months of 2018, Albemarle and Charlottesville, the region’s retail hub, in the aggregate, accounted for $1.38 billion (+3.34% / +$50 million / v. 2017-Q1&Q2) in total retail sales (not including motor vehicle or gasoline/diesel sales). Due to confidentially, competitive and proprietary requirements, the Virginia Department of Taxation does not report retail sales of specific enterprises or retail sales within areas of a locality.

The 2017 Chamber Jobs Report data showed that the all private sector jobs within the Greater Charlottesville region, 19,104 or 21.8% are in “Trade, Transportation & Utilities;” most of those in retail. The Chamber plans to issue its 2018 Chamber Jobs Report shortly, in advance of its 2018 Chamber Jobs Action Summit; Wednesday, October 3rd at the Charlottesville Omni from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.