Aspen businesses collectively got off to a good start to 2014.
The city of Aspen’s monthly consumption tax report, released Thursday, shows that retailers on the whole garnered $69.64 million in January, a 3.3 percent increase compared with $67.45 million during the same month last year.
Most retail categories fared well. Restaurants and bars were up 6.9 percent, raking in $12.1 million compared with $11.3 million in January 2013. Accommodations, the category representing hotels and lodges, was more than $1 million higher, climbing from $22.8 million in the first month of last year to $23.9 million, a 4.8 percent increase.
The sector of sports equipment- clothing experienced a 12.5 percent increase, rising from $6 million to $6.8 million. Construction was 21.8 percent higher, jumping from $2.1 million to $2.6 million. The jewelry-gallery-fur category — which didn’t fare so well in December — saw a 10.8 percent uptick, increasing from $1.1 million to $1.2 million.
Declines occurred in the categories of general clothing (4.4 percent), food and drug (10.2 percent), general retail (19.1 percent) and specialty retail (6.2 percent). Liquor sales were less than 1 percent higher.
January generally accounts for 14 to 16 percent of the entire year’s retail sales and sales tax collections, according to a memorandum from Aspen Finance Director Don Taylor to the City Council.
But it pales when compared with the previous month. December is the city’s biggest month for retail sales, and the most recent December saw Aspen businesses garnering $83.9 million, nearly a 10 percent increase when stacked against the same month in 2012. January or March is usually the second-highest sales month, the Finance Department has said.
The city’s 2.1 percent sales tax generated $1.43 million in January, a 3 percent increase when compared with January 2013’s $1.39 million.