(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. 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, today the 1,100 Chamber member and affiliate member enterprises employ more than 45,000 people in the Greater Charlottesville region, representing an estimated total payroll of more than $1.75 billion a year.
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