Aspen retail economy holding steady

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen’s retail economy appears to be stabilizing, according to a report issued Friday by the city’s finance department.

For the first six months of the year, taxable sales were up 1 percent over the same period in 2009, and are trekking 5 percent above year-to-date budgeted revenues for the city. While sales tax collections are down 1 percent for the same period, that’s partly attributable to the city of Aspen’s sales tax rate decrease from 2.2 percent to 2.1 percent in September.

All told, from January through June, Aspen retailers rang up $233.96 million. In June, retailers reported $33.7 million in sales, up 4 percent over June 2009.

Retail industries in the month of June posted the following performances:

• Accommodations (hotels, lodges, etc.) – $8.4 million, even with June 2009

• Restaurants/Bars – $6.1 million, down 3 percent

• Sports equipment – $1.3 million, up 4 percent

• Clothing – $2.9 million, up 1 percent

• Food and drug – $3.9 million, down 4 percent

• General retail – $4.4 million, up 65 percent

• Liquor – $581,650, up 1 percent

• Specialty retail – $1.7 million, up 12 percent

• Jewelry/galleries/fur – $580,238, up 5 percent

• Utilities – $2.6 million, down 3 percent

• Automobile – $1.1 million, down 13 percent

• Miscellaneous – $163,572, down 1 percent

The city’s 1 percent lodging tax, meanwhile, was down 13 percent in June compared to June of 2009. Even so, the bed tax collections for the first six months of the year are 11 percent higher that the city’s budgeted revenues for the same time period.

The Wheeler real estate transfer tax [RETT] collections also are down 23 percent from January through July, compared to the first seven months of 2009, the report shows. The housing portion of the RETT saw a 21 percent decrease in collections for the year’s first seven months, according to the report.