Retail sales a mixed bag in region | Business

The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is reporting ups and downs for retail sales across Central Virginia during the first half of 2017.

Sales tax data collected from the Virginia Department of Taxation show retail sales activity was mixed across the region for the first six months of the calendar year, compared with the same period in 2016. Sales were up by 8.84 percent in Albemarle County, 7.94 percent in Fluvanna County and 4.15 percent in Louisa County.

Conversely, retail sales were down 3.58 percent in Charlottesville and 6.31 percent in Greene County.

Albemarle and Charlottesville, considered the region’s retail hub, accounted for $1.33 billion in combined retail sales over the first six months of the year, not including motor vehicle or fuel sales. That total is a $40 million increase over the same period in 2016.

The chamber said in a news release that the mixed sales activity could signal a possible shift in regional retail sales patterns.

Timothy Hulbert, president of the chamber, said in an interview that Albemarle’s upswing and Charlottesville’s decrease in sales may be driven by developments such as 5th Street Station, which opened in November, drawing customers past the city’s boundary lines.

Due to confidentiality and competitive and proprietary requirements, the state’s taxation department does not report sales for particular enterprises or retail sales within specific areas of a locality.

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