Retail Alliance’s Retail Pulse survey was conducted between February 3 and February 14, 2022. The survey received 100 responses from retailers, restaurants, services, and other small businesses, throughout Hampton Roads.

The survey included questions about holiday sales comparing the 2021 holiday season to 2020 and also to 2019 (pre-pandemic), e-commerce, business confidence, business challenges, supply chain, and minimum wage.

Results compiled by Kylie Ross Sibert, Retail Alliance | 757-455-9323 |

Industry Classification

Industry Classification

Holiday Sales 2021 vs 2020

The 2021 holiday sales figures in Hampton Roads look favorable compared to 2020 but when compared to 2019 (pre pandemic), it shows a less positive story. Far more people experienced a decrease in sales in 2019 (vs 2021) than 2020 (vs 2021).

2021 vs 2020/2019 holiday sales

The decrease from 2020 holiday sales was mainly felt by restaurants (18% significant decrease) but when compared to 2019 numbers, those numbers were much higher, with 36% of restaurants experiencing a significant decrease in holiday sales.



Retailers were the largest group of respondents to operate an e-commerce store (55%). When we look at this segment of respondents, 43% said that it made up 1-9% of their overall sales, followed by 10-19% (24%). Of those retailers who operated an online store, a third (33%) experienced moderate growth during the pandemic and 24% a lot of growth. During the 2021 holiday period, 52% of those who operated an e-commerce store said they had a moderate amount of growth.

Business Challenges

Inflation was of most concern on average, with 81% having some level of concern. Delays in the supply chain are not improving for a significant portion either, with an average of 78% expressing concerns.

Although inflation and supply chain were most concerning on average, 23% of respondents ranked Minimum wage increase and Impact/Uncertainty of Omicron and other Coronavirus variants of Extreme Concern.


Looking at retail only, Inflation was of most concern, with 34 % stating they were Extremely concerned. Restaurants were Extremely concerned about Staff recruitment and Minimum wage increase, while the Impact/Uncertainty of omicron and other Coronavirus variants was Extremely concerning to Service-based businesses.

Business Confidence

Confidence has been stable for the last 6 months according to our last three Retail Pulse surveys. In this latest February survey, 19% are Extremely confident that their business will improve over the next 6 months, followed by 29% who are Very Confident. 40% are Somewhat confident, 9% Not so confident, and 3% Not at all confident.

Businesses that offer a combination of products and service are feeling Extremely confident over the next six months, according to the latest findings (29%). In fact, that group of respondents does not show any lack of confidence. Service-based businesses are also feeling confident with 96% showing some level of confidence over the next 6 months. Retail and Restaurants are a little less certain, with 16% and 27% respectively stating they are Not so confident or Not at all confident.


Supply Chain Issues

Supply chain issues are continuing for retailers, restaurants, and those that offer a combination of services. Restaurants, in particular, are finding it Very difficult to obtain the products needed to run their businesses. Service-based businesses felt less of an impact due to being less reliant on sourcing products.

Minimum Wage

Minimum wage issues are continuing into 2022 and, as profit margins are so tight for many small businesses, these costs must be passed onto consumers. Not much has changed from November to February, apart from people already having adapted wages back in November necessary to be in line with the new requirements, and not having to reduce staff hours as much as they had done back in November. The good news is that nearly a third of respondents said that minimum wage increases have had No impact on their business. This was mainly driven by service-based businesses.


Past Retail Pulse Survey Results

November 2021

August 2021