Aspen sales, tax collections continue upward trend |

Aspen sales, tax collections continue upward trend

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – With the winter ski season starting a couple of weeks early, Aspen retail sales rose more than 7 percent in November compared with the same month in 2010, according to the city’s monthly consumption tax report.

Overall, retail sales rose 7.4 percent to $21.28 million, compared with $19.82 million in the previous November. Through the first 11 months of 2011, retail sales totaled $424.42 million, a 6.3 percent increase compared with $399.18 million for January to November 2010.

The city’s 2.1 percent sales tax garnered $472,720 in November, a 9.5 percent increase compared with the monthly collection of $431,653 a year ago. Year-to-date revenues (through November 2011) from the tax were $8.89 million, a 6.5 percent increase compared with $8.35 million through the first 11 months of 2010.

As for sales categories, the big winners in November and their percentage increases compared with the same month last year were: construction, 53 percent; clothing, 14 percent; and accommodations, 9 percent.

Decreases occurred in specialty retail, 17 percent; sports equipment and related clothing, 11.7 percent; and restaurants/bars, 2.7 percent.

The report states that real estate transfer tax collections that support the city’s housing program during the full year of 2011 experienced an 18 percent decrease from 2010. Likewise, real estate transfer tax collections in 2011 that support the Wheeler Opera House were down 16 percent compared to the previous year.

“Wide fluctuations in the real estate transfer taxes are normal,” the report from Aspen finance director Don Taylor noted. “However, 2011 marks the worst year for real estate transfer tax collections since 2003.”

The overall November sales increase may have been partially aided by a ski season that started a little earlier than usual. Snowmass opened Nov. 19, helping to boost lodging occupancy rates in Aspen.

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