Aspen businesses report September sales of $41.66 million |

Aspen businesses report September sales of $41.66 million

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Andre Salvail/The Aspen Times

Aspen retailers and other businesses set a record in September with $41.66 million in sales, an 8.3 percent increase compared with $38.46 million in the same month last year, according to the city’s monthly consumption report.

Accommodations, the economic category representing hotel and lodge bookings, garnered a little more than $10 million during the month, a 20 percent increase over the $8.3 million the city reported in September 2013. A recent report by Denver-based DestiMetrics LLC, a firm that tracks resort activity, shows that the paid occupancy rate for hotels and lodges during September was 50.1 percent, a 4.1 percent increase. At the same time, the average daily rate for rooms was 6.5 percent higher.

Bill Tomcich, president of reservations firm Stay Aspen Snowmass, said in an email that one reason for the extra business in Aspen was Tough Mudder, a two-day physical endurance competition in Snowmass Village that drew an estimated 7,500 participants and was said to have accounted for an overall influx of 10,000 people to the area on Sept. 6 and 7.

“Tough Mudder in Snowmass was clearly responsible for what turned out to be one of the busiest weekends of the entire summer for Aspen-Snowmass,” he wrote, adding that the combined lodging market saw nearly twice as many overnight visitors compared with the same weekend last year.

“But what is also impressive is the fact that every single weekend in September in both Aspen and Snowmass saw overall occupancies higher than what was realized last year thanks to a really nice surge of last-minute bookings,” Tomcich said.

Restaurants and bars fared well in September, posting nearly $7.6 million in sales, an 8 percent increase over the same month a year ago. Construction activity was up, as well, accounting for $4.6 million in revenue, a 10 percent rise.

The newly created liquor and marijuana category generated $905,210. The liquor category in September 2013, five months before the first recreational marijuana shop opened in Aspen, represented $617,304 in sales.

Notable sales declines occurred in the areas of general retail (14 percent), food and drug (5 percent), clothing (9 percent).

September generally accounts for between 6 percent and 8 percent of the entire year’s sales and collections, Aspen Finance Director Don Taylor noted in a memorandum to the City Council.

The city’s 2.1 percent sales tax generated $858,579, a 7.1 percent increase over September 2013’s $801,769.

The overall figure of $41.66 million reflects a 75 percent increase compared with the same month in 2003, when September sales totaled $23.75 million, according to the city.

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