The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce today released retail sales tax data showing aggregate retail sales in Charlottesville – Albemarle have increased by +3.99% over the first half of 2012 over 2011 levels. The data also showed that first half 2012 retail sales increased in Greene & Louisa Counties and Waynesboro, declining in Augusta County, compared to 2010. Virginia Department of Taxation sales tax data compiled showed that Albemarle and Charlottesville, the region�s �retail hub,� accounted for $1.087 billion in total retail sales over the first half of 2012; in the aggregate an increase of +$42 million compared with the $1.045 billion in total sales in 2011�s first half. Retail sales increased over the first half of 2012 within the City of Charlottesville by +12.28% while decreasing in Albemarle County by -2.08%. It is not clear however, by this data, that the mid-2010 adjustments to retail sales in Albemarle and Charlottesville have worked their way through the full reporting cycle. (It is important to recall that in mid-2010, Albemarle County officials undertook an analysis of retail sales reporting which revealed that businesses in the County with �Charlottesville� mailing addresses were reported incorrectly.) Aggregate retail sales in Albemarle and Charlottesville, the region�s retail hub, have risen consistently over the past two years; a reversal of the downward trend that began in late 2007 with the onset of the �Great Recession� (2007-2009). Still, retail sales overall continue to lag behind 2006 levels. During the first half of 2012 (January � June) compared to the first half of 2011, retail sales increased Greene County, +3.19%; Louisa County +12.98% and Waynesboro +8.29%, while retail sales decreased in Augusta County -4.14%. According to the 2011 Chamber Jobs Report, the employment reporting sector of �Trade, Transportation & Utilities,� holds the largest segment of jobs, 17,247 or 22.3% in the Chamber�s Greater Charlottesville regional service area � virtually all created through private investment and general commercial activity. An increase in retail sales equates to a gain in jobs and local tax revenues while conversely a decline in retail sales equates to a loss of jobs and as well as a local tax revenue loss.
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