ASPEN - Businesses showed slight improvement in October compared with the same month last year, according to the city's monthly consumption tax report.
Retailers posted sales of $21.64 million, up 1.7 percent over October 2011's $21.29 million, the report says.
October, in the middle of the fall offseason, typically is one of the slowest months for local sales. October generally accounts for around 4 percent of the entire year's retail sales and sales tax collections, Aspen Finance Director Don Taylor noted in a memorandum.
Categories posting the largest gains were construction (14.2 percent), luxury goods (13.6 percent), jewelry-gallery-fur (15.7 percent), specialty retail (11.8 percent) and general retail (9.2 percent). The largest decreases, from a percentage standpoint, occurred in automobiles (17.7 percent), miscellaneous (5.7 percent), clothing (3.2 percent) and food and drug (3.1 percent).
Accommodations, restaurants and bars, and sports-equipment sales were relatively flat when comparing October 2012 to its 2011 counterpart.
For the year through October, retail sales were up 6.8 percent compared with the first 10 months of 2011. All categories have experienced increased sales so far this year, with the exception of luxury goods and automobile sales.
Collections from the city's 2.1 percent sales tax of $454,577 were 1.3 percent more than October 2011's $448,462. Occasionally the increase in sales tax collections fails to mirror the rise in retail sales as a result of businesses filing their figures late.
August lodging tax collections were up 11 percent from the same period in 2011, the report states. Through 10 months, lodging tax collections are up 14 percent from 2011.
Real estate transfer tax collections through November posted increases of 21 percent compared with the same month in 2011. There now have been three consecutive months with collections exceeding 2011's.