Aspen sales dive in February |

Aspen sales dive in February

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” February retail sales in Aspen were down 19 percent, with industries dependent upon tourism faring worse than others, according to numbers released Monday by the city’s finance office.

Four categories, which represent 50 percent of the city of Aspen’s total annual taxable retail sales ” sports equipment and clothing; clothing stores; specialty retail and tourist accommodations ” were down significantly in February, according to Don Taylor, the city’s finance director.

Tourist accommodations alone were down 23 percent for the month, compared to February 2008, while restaurants/bar business ” the second largest individual category ” was down 18 percent.

Categories which are dependent on “local oriented” sales were either barely up or slightly down, including food and drug stores, general retail and utilities. Cumulatively, those three industries represent 28 percent of total annual taxable retail sales.

Overall, February sales totaled $49.5 million, down 19 percent from the same month a year ago.

Sales for the first two months of the year totaled $103.9 million, down 18 percent from the same period last year.

Lodging tax collections for February were down 31 percent from the same month in 2008. Year-to-date collections through February were down 25 percent from 2008.

Aspen’s portion of Pitkin County’s sales tax for January was down 18 percent from 2008, according to the city’s latest consumption tax report.

The year-to-date Wheeler Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) collections through March were 12 percent ahead of collections for the same period in 2008. The year-to-date housing real estate transfer tax collections through March were 10 percent ahead of collections for the same period in 2008.

Both of the RETTs are reflecting an increase as a result of units closing at The Residences at the Little Nell, as well as other fractional-ownership projects. While both January and February saw increases, March was down 44 percent.

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