Aspen retail sales slip in May | AspenTimes.com

Aspen retail sales slip in May

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen’s latest sales tax report suggests the resort’s economy is beginning to improve, though sales dipped in May, according to Don Taylor, city finance director.

Taxable sales were up 3 percent through May, though sales for the month of May alone were down 5 percent, according to the finance office report.

The city’s sales tax collections for the first five months of the year were down 1 percent, compared to the same period last year, but starting last September, the city’s tax rate dropped from 2.2 percent to 2.1 percent.

For the month of May, tourist accommodations – the single largest retail sector – were up 23 percent compared to May 2009, and lodging tax collections were up 18 percent for the month.

Restaurant/bar receipts, however, were down 12 percent for the month. For the first five months of 2010, sales in both categories were flat compared to last year.

Most categories showed drops in May, though the specialty retail category was up 28 percent for the month.

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Real estate transfer tax collections, which fluctuate widely as a rule, were down for the first six months of 2010. The tax dedicated to the Wheeler Opera House was down 5 percent for the first half of the year; the tax dedicated to housing was down 4 percent, according to Taylor’s report.