Aspen retail sales track ahead of 2009 | AspenTimes.com

Aspen retail sales track ahead of 2009

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

City of Aspen Finance DepartmentThe amount each sector has produced in retail sales in Aspen for the year, through October. Together, accommodations and restaurant/bar business account for nearly half of overall sales.

ASPEN – City retail sales through the month of October were up 3 percent, suggesting the resort’s economy is improving, according to Don Taylor, finance director.

For the month of October alone, sales were down 4 percent, compared to October 2009, according to the city’s monthly sales report, released on Friday. However, starting last year in September, the city’s tax rate dropped, affecting year-to-year comparisons.

For the first 10 months of 2010, tourist accommodations were up 6 percent, while restaurant/bar business was up 1 percent, compared to last year. Together, the two categories make up close to half of overall sales.

Clothing sales were up 6 percent for the year so far, and receipts in the specialty retail category were up 21 percent through October.

For the month of October alone, accommodations were up 1 percent, and specialty retail was up 35 percent. But most categories took a dip. October is traditionally one of the slowest months of the year for retail activity in Aspen.

The city’s sales tax collections were even with 2009 through the end of October, while lodging tax collections were up 9 percent, according to the report.

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Overall retail sales for the month of October totaled slightly more than $19 million. For the year through October, sales totaled $377 million.

Aspen’s portion of Pitkin County’s sales tax through September (the county numbers are a month behind because they are collected by the state) were up 6 percent from 2009.

The city’s real estate transfer tax collections, dependent on real estate sales, showed slight change from 2009 through the month of November, according to Taylor. Wide variations in transfer tax collections are the norm, he noted.

Collection of the tax devoted to the Wheeler Opera House was down 1 percent, while the tax devoted to housing was up 2 percent through the end of November.