2017 Franklin County Retail Report

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

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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