Aspen realizes strongest June sales in 10 years |

Aspen realizes strongest June sales in 10 years

Andre SalvailThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – June’s retail sales in Aspen were the best they’ve been in 10 years, according to the city’s Finance Department.The department’s monthly consumption tax report shows sales of $44.05 million, a 15.6 percent increase compared with June 2011’s sales of $38.11 million.The second-best June over the past decade occurred in 2007, when city retailers and others realized sales of about $40 million, city accountant Chris Lundgren said.Aspen Finance Director Don Taylor said the strong sales month was sparked by the accommodations category, reflecting lodging sales. The category realized $12.1 million in June, a 35.8 percent increase compared with $8.91 million during the same month last year.A sold-out Food & Wine Classic, held June 15 to 17, along with dry weather that lured visitors might have been factors in the sales uptick, Taylor suggested. Also, Lundgren noted that there were five weekends in the most recent June, whereas the same month in 2011 only had four.”I think the word has finally gotten around (to national and international travelers) about June in Aspen,” said Sally Spaulding, public relations manager for the hospitality division of Aspen Skiing Co. Increases occurred in 10 of 13 sales areas, including the previously mentioned accommodations category. Double-digit percentage gains also were posted in construction (20.8 percent), sports equipment and clothing (15.1 percent), restaurants and bars (13.6 percent), general retail (11.7 percent) and liquor (10.1 percent).Double-digit percentage losses occurred in the categories of jewelry (25 percent) and automobile sales (15.8 percent).For the first six months of 2012, sales are far outpacing last year’s January-to-June period. Retail sales have totaled $266.47 million, a 9 percent increase compared with $243.39 million during the first six months of 2011.The city’s 2.1 percent sales tax collected $919,208, an 18.6 percent increase over June 2011’s $774,

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