Aspen posts 6.8 percent sales gain in February |

Aspen posts 6.8 percent sales gain in February

Aspen businesses collectively reported a 6.8 percent increase in February sales compared with the same month a year ago, according to the city’s monthly consumption tax report released Wednesday.

Retailers on the whole realized sales of $62.7 million, a $4 million increase from February 2013’s $58.7 million, the report says.

Accommodation, the retail category representing hotel and lodge bookings, experienced a 9.7 percent jump in sales, climbing about $2 million to $21.6 million, compared with $19.7 million posted a year ago. The Denver-based resort-tracking firm DestiMetrics said last month that Aspen occupancy rates rose 5.7 percent from February 2013 to February of this year, hitting 72.1 percent for the month.

Of the 13 retail sectors in the city’s report, gains occurred in nine: accommodation (9.7 percent), restaurants and bars (11.2 percent), sports equipment-clothing (2.6 percent), food and drug (3.5 percent), liquor (10 percent), specialty retail (1.4 percent), jewelry-gallery-fur (62.3 percent), utilities (2.1 percent) and automobile (129.9 percent).

The solo clothing category fell 1.5 percent, and construction dropped 22.7 percent. General retail and miscellaneous sales fell 17.3 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.

February generally accounts for 10 to 12 percent of annual retail sales in Aspen, according to Aspen Finance Director Don Taylor. While February is considered a solid month for sales during Aspen’s winter tourism season, it lags behind the December, January and March retail totals, the Finance Department has said.

The city’s 2.1 percent sales tax generated $1.39 million in February, a 13.3 percent increase when compared with February 2013’s $1.23 million.

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