Hampton Roads retail sales remained essentially unchanged at $1.70B in February-2013*. While this is significantly above the low-point in January-2010 of $1.53B, it is still 7.4% below the prerecession peak in February-2007. This compares to U.S. retail sales that are 11.2% over their prerecession peak, and 27.2% above their recession low-point.
A few items account for this gap between the U.S. and regional retail sales performance. One, this region has a significant number of military families that have access to base exchanges where transactions are not included in regional retail sales figures because they do not pay local sales tax. Thus, a large share of consumer spending was at locations that do not report sales regionally. Second, online sales (which are included in the national figures) have grown significantly, with 5.4% of all retail sales occurring online. This was $59.5B in the fourth quarter of 2012, out of a total of $1.1T retail sales. Lastly, while both Hampton Roads and the U.S. payroll employment declined by almost 6% during the recession; the U.S. payrolls have recovered both more rapidly and more steadily than Hampton Roads payrolls. U.S. payrolls have gained 3.6% of their prerecession levels, as compared to a 2.4% recovery locally.
*Hampton Roads retail sales are measured through the state sales tax, and have been seasonally adjusted to allow for month to month comparisons.