Tri-Cities retail performance best in 3 years, Bristol is area’s Q2 volume increase super star

Second quarter Tri-Cities retail performance was the best in three years.

According to ETSU economist  Steb Hipple’s Tri-Cities Retail Sales Report, Bristol sales were up 15.2% to $290 million, Kingsport rose to $413 million and Johnson City sales were up 6.2% to $507 million.

sales tax share

Chart illustrates the share of Q2 Tri-Cities retail sales in the three major cities and the area outside those cities.

“Due to lower energy prices, the overall price level remained unchanged on a year-to-year basis.  With no inflation, sales volume increases were also 15.2% in Bristol, 6.3% in Kingsport, and 6.2% in Johnson City.  In comparison, retail activity rose 6.9% in the metro area, 7.9% in Tennessee, and 1.8% in the United States.

“Retail performance continued to improve in all three East Tennessee metro areas during the spring months.  Dollar sales rose 7.3% in Knoxville, followed closely by 7.0% in Chattanooga and 6.9% in the Tri-Cities.  Adjusted for the zero rate of inflation, real volume increased 7.3% in Knoxville, 7.0% in Chattanooga, and 6.9% in the Tri-Cities.  This marks the fifth quarter of real sales growth in East Tennessee.

According to Dr. Hipple’s analysis, “  The strong retail growth in the regional economy matches the continued employment growth in the Tri-Cities.  As discussed in the last labor market report, both the CES payroll data and the CPS household data are finally in sync and both show strong job gains.  With job growth we will have the income growth needed to sustain continued sales growth.

“The business outlook for the region and the nation remains positive.  At the national level, production and employment and income and retailing continue to increase.  In the region, employment and retailing have been growing.  The ongoing national business expansion will continue to boost business activity in the Tri-Cities.“

The full report and data can be found at


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