Aspen retail sales fall in September |

Aspen retail sales fall in September

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The effects of the national economic crisis and the start of the fall offseason were reflected in the city of Aspen’s sales tax collections for September, which were down 7.9 percent, according to the city’s finance department.

Aspen retail sales in September totaled $32,900,288 ” a 6.8 percent drop compared to the same month last year.

However, through the first three-quarters of 2008, overall sales totaled $409 million ” up 5.5 percent, compared to 2007, and city sales tax collections for the period were up 5.4 percent.

Virtually every sector of the local retail industry posted declining sales for the month of September, including restaurants and bars; sports equipment and clothing; clothing stores; general retail, liquor stores, and utilities.

But tourist accommodations, and food and drug store sales, reflected increases both in September and for the year, according to the city’s latest consumption tax report. Tourist accommodations ” the single largest retail sector ” was up 3 percent in September, compared to the same month a year ago, and up 8.4 percent for the first three-quarters of the year. Food and drug store sales were up 10.6 percent in September, and 6.3 percent for the year so far.

Lodging tax collections for the year, through September, were up 8.7 percent.

Aspen’s portion of Pitkin County’s 3.5 percent sales tax collections for August was down 2 percent from 2007, while year-to-date collections were up 3.6 percent.

Real estate transfer tax collections that fund the Wheeler Opera House were down 43 percent through October, compared to 2007, and were 27 percent behind budget projections. The tax is a reflection of real state sales activity.

Through October, real estate transfer tax collections dedicated to the city’s housing program were also 43 percent behind collections during the same period in 2007, and 36 percent behind 2008 budget projections.

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