April retail sales down 4.6 percent | AspenTimes.com

April retail sales down 4.6 percent

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Aspen’s retail economy didn’t gain any ground during the month of April, but it didn’t lose any, either.

Sales through April were off last year’s pace by 5.2 percent. They were down by the same percentage at the end of March.

For April alone, retail sales were down 4.6 percent from the sales recorded in the same month a year ago, according to the city’s latest sales tax report.

Tourist accommodations, the single largest sector of the resort economy, were down 18.3 percent in April, compared to April 2001, based on sales tax collections by the city Finance Department. The category was down 4.7 percent through the first four months of the year.

Restaurant/bar business was down 2 percent for the month and 2.3 percent for the year. Sports equipment/clothing sales were down 22 percent in April, while clothing sales were down 20.3 percent, according to the report. For the year, the two categories were down 5.7 and 10.4 percent, respectively.

Utilities showed a 13.5 percent drop in April, compared to the same month a year ago, while liquor sales were down 6 percent for the month, and food and drug sales were down 3.6 percent.

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General retail sales, which include items such as hardware and appliances, was up a whopping 55 percent in April, but was down 3.6 percent for the year, compared to the first four months of 2001.

Specialty retail, including gifts, books, antiques, luggage and the like, was down 2 percent in April and down 4 percent for the year.

April’s overall retail sales, based on sales tax collections, totaled $17.3 million. The month heralds the end of the ski season and signals the start of Aspen’s off-season, when business activity typically lags. Retail sales in March, by comparison, totaled $50.3 million.

For the first four months of the year, retail sales totaled $147 million, compared to $155 million in the first four months of 2001 – a total that was down 4 percent from the year 2000.

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