This is a perfect time of the year to talk about one our most important business sectors.
The retail landscape is changing dramatically. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 10% of all retail sales dollars now occur online and that number has grown from 4% in 2010. In certain product categories, that number is much higher. A recent Fortune Magazine survey revealed 51% of consumer goods shoppers now make their purchases online. The numbers are substantially lower for major ticket items and food, but there is no denying online sales are having a major impact in the retail sector.
Let’s look at some of our retail numbers. Cape Girardeau County experiences approximately $1.5 Billion dollars annually in taxable retail sales. Cape County is #2 out of 114 counties in Missouri for a retail pull factor which is a measure of retail sales per capita. And 17% of the county workforce is in retail compared to a state average of 13%. Certainly we are a retail hub.
However, the largest parts of the budgets for Cape County, Cape Girardeau, and Jackson, are funded by sales tax dollars. Even though the numbers are impressive – they are stagnant. Online sales have cut into the growth. The Wayfair decision at the federal level now allows states to collect sales tax from online sales. The Missouri legislature did not address the issues this year. Perhaps they will in 2020. Regardless, the retail sector is very strong in Cape County.