Aspen retail sales dive in January |

Aspen retail sales dive in January

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Retail sales in Aspen took a 20 percent dive in January, according to a report issued Thursday by the city’s finance office.

The consumption tax report for January shows collections from the city’s 2.2 percent sales tax were down 21 percent, while lodging tax collections were down 19 percent, compared to January 2008 (use the link above to view the full report).

“Aspen is feeling the effects of the declining national economy and recession,” said city Finance Director Don Taylor in the report.

Tourist-oriented businesses did not fare well in the first month of 2009, he noted. Sales in sports equipment and clothing, clothing stores, specialty retail and tourist accommodations (lodging) were all down. Together, those categories represent half of Aspen’s total annual taxable retail sales, Taylor said.

“Local-oriented” sales were also down, but not as much, Taylor said, citing January’s numbers for food and drug store sales, general retail receipts and utilities.

Retail sales in January 2009 totaled $52.3 million. Tourist accommodations, which accounted for 36.6 percent of the total, was down 20 percent compared to the same month a year ago. Restaurant and bar receipts, which accounted for 18 percent of the total, were off last year’s pace by 12 percent.

The city’s collection of real estate transfer taxes, levied on real estate sales, were up through February, according to the report. Revenues from the RETT dedicated to the Wheeler Opera House were up 40 percent, while collections from the RETT dedicated to worker housing were up 39 percent.

Wide fluctuations in RETT collections are the norm, Taylor noted. This year’s numbers reflect the closing of a number of units at the new Residences at The Little Nell and other fractional projects, though the Aspen real estate market “continues to feel the effects of a weak national real estate market,” he said.

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