Aspen retail sales up 10.5 percent in ’05 |

Aspen retail sales up 10.5 percent in ’05

Kimberly Nicoletti
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

At first glance, Aspen’s 2005 retail sales look stellar; they are up for the third straight year. But when adjusted for inflation, they were only 99 percent of 1995’s, making them lower in terms of purchasing power than collections from a decade ago.Nevertheless, sales were 10.5 percent higher than in 2004.

In 2005, tourist accommodations made up the largest percentage of total retail sales, at 27.2 percent. The sector increased 13.6 percent from last year, with $121.7 million in revenue.Restaurants and bars contributed 18 percent to 2005’s total retail sales, increasing by 2.5 percent from 2004, with $80.7 million in sales. Food and drug stores were the third largest sector, at 10 percent of total sales, up 5.5 percent, followed by clothing stores, which brought in $43.9 million – a 16.6 percent increase from 2004.Though galleries made up only 1.2 percent of total retail sales last year, they saw the biggest jump in 2005 – up 112.7 percent, with a total of $5.4 million.Jewelry came in with a 13.3 percent increase – almost the same increase as tourist accommodations – though jewelry made up a mere 1.6 percent of last year’s total retail sales.

Fur sales may have taken a huge leap in November – up 79.9 percent compared with 2004 – but overall, they were down by 2.9 percent. T-shirt sales were down, too, by 3.6 percent.Liquor store sales increased by 7.3 percent; utilities increased 9.8 percent; specialty retail – including gifts, books and antiques – increased by 11.6 percent; general retail, including such items as hardware and appliances, increased 7.1 percent; sports equipment and clothing increased 6 percent; and food and drug stores increased 5.5 percent.December sales

Historically, December is the second biggest month in retail sales for Aspen after March. December 2005 was no different, bringing in $67.9 million, a 12.7 percent increase compared with December 2004.It seems the holidays had a positive effect on jewelry sales; next to the miscellaneous category (which increased by 99.6 percent), jewelry led the pack by increasing 27.4 percent over sales in December 2004. Sports equipment and clothing scored the second highest increase. They increased 23 percent compared with last December.December clothing store sales rose by 20 percent, utilities by 19.3 percent. Specialty retail was up 19.2 percent. Tourist accommodations increased by 16.3 percent, liquor stores by 14.3 percent, food and drug stores by 5.7 percent, and restaurants and bars by 5.2 percent.Other segments didn’t fare as well in December. Though galleries had the biggest increase in 2005, in they had the biggest drop from the previous December, at 26.5 percent. General retail decreased by 17.3 percent. Fur stores had a 10.2 percent decrease, and T-shirt shops decreased by 4.5 percent in December. Kimberly Nicoletti’s e-mail address is