Franklin County Retail Highlights
This report covers trends in retail sales tax, employment, and real estate. Key highlights include:
- Franklin County bricks-and-mortar retail sales tax revenue grew by 1.6 percent from 2015 to 2016, a marked slowdown from the previous year’s 6.3 percent growth.
- Improved online sales tax collection in Ohio is providing a new source of revenue growth. For the first time, this report breaks out non-store retail tax revenue from the rest of the retail trade. Despite its much smaller share, non-store retail saw almost as much revenue growth ($2.1 million) as did bricks-and-mortar retail ($2.4 million).
- Bricks-and-mortar retail’s share of county sales tax revenue was barely a majority in 2016 (50.4 percent) and will likely fall below that for the first time ever in 2017.
- After a small recovery from 2011 to 2014, retail employment in Franklin County has decreased slightly, in contract to e-commerce-driven employment growth in transportation and warehousing. Seasonal employment effects highlight the increasing retail-oriented nature of logistics.
- Retail vacancy rate in the Columbus market ticked up from a low of 5.4 percent in Q3 2016 to 6.7 percent in Q1 2017. Rents show some sign of softening and are at their lowest levels since 2012.
- The national picture for retail employment and real estate shows the industry will have to continue to adapt to e-commerce, by both providing a differentiated experience from online and working in tandem through omnichannel. Retail employment in particular may face new challenges with increasing technology and automation.
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