Aspen realizes big gain in May retail sales |

Aspen realizes big gain in May retail sales

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen realized its best May sales since 2008, according to the city’s monthly consumption tax report.

The city recently recorded May 2012 retail sales of $17.7 million, a 7.8 percent increase compared with the same month last year. Year-to-date sales continue to pace well, having risen to $221.9 million in the recent January-to-May period, an 8.1 percent increase over the $205.3 million reported for the same five months last year.

While sales tracked upward in May, the month is one of the slowest of the year for Aspen retailers, restaurants and lodges.

“May generally accounts for less than 4 percent of the entire year’s sales and collections,” the report from Aspen Finance Director Don Taylor states.

While Taylor’s report makes no mention of the reasons behind the positive May numbers, the accommodations category, representing hotels and lodges, was 24.6 percent higher, climbing from $1.6 million in May 2011 to $2 million two months ago.

Some economic observers recently suggested that an early spring with dry conditions lured more visitors to the city. Independence Pass opened on May 11, a few weeks earlier than usual, giving visitors a second entryway into the city. The number of weekends this May and in May 2011 was the same, at four.

The city also reported big boosts in several other categories: specialty retail, 87.8 percent; sports equipment and related clothing, 37.8 percent; food and drug, 26.5 percent; liquor, 15.4 percent; and construction, 11.3 percent. Meanwhile, the general clothing category was 9.3 percent higher and restaurants and bars posted a 6.2 percent increase.

Declines came in the areas of jewelry-gallery-fur activity, 53 percent; miscellaneous sales, 17.4 percent; and automobile purchases, 15.5 percent.

With retail sales posting gains in nine of 13 categories, sales tax collections also were higher. The city collected $398,014 from its 2.1 percent sales tax, a 14.4 percent increase compared with $348,020 in May 2011.

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