Aspen sales tax revenue down for November
ASPEN ” It appears Aspen’s economy is continuing on a downward spiral, based on the latest sales tax report released Thursday by the city’s finance department.
For November, Aspen sales tax revenue slipped 5.5 percent and lodging tax revenue was down 25.1 percent compared to the same month in 2007.
However, year to date, both revenue streams are still up for the first 11 months of 2008 ” sales tax collections are up 3.9 percent and lodging tax collections are up 6.3 percent. November retail sales are $19.4 million, representing a 9.3 percent decrease over 2007. Year-to-date retail sales are $448.7 million.
Industry categories that are heavily dependent on local-oriented sales have continued to perform fairly well, both in November and through most of 2008. They include food and drug stores, general retail and utilities. Cumulatively, those industries represent about 28 percent of the city’s total annual taxable retail sales, according to Aspen finance director Don Taylor.
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What didn’t fare well were businesses that are tourist oriented ” sports equipment and clothing, clothing stores, specialty retail, and tourist accommodations. Those four industries represent about 50 percent of the city’s total annual taxable retail sales. It appears they are the primary reason for the total decline of 9.3 percent in retail sales for November, according to Taylor.
The city’s largest single industry, tourist accommodations, was down 17 percent for November but is still reflecting a 6.3 percent year-to-date increase over 2007.
The second largest category, restaurants and bars, was down 8.3 percent for November but reflects a 4.1 percent increase year to date over 2007, according to Taylor.
The Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) collections that fund the Wheeler Opera House is 42 percent behind collections through December, compared to the same period in 2007. They are 28 percent behind the 2008 year-to-date budget. The city brought in $3,077,447 in Wheeler RETT collections for 2008.
The RETT collections that fund the city’s housing program are 41 percent behind collections through December, compared to the same period in 2007. They are 38 percent behind the 2008 year-to-date budget.
“It would appear that Aspen is feeling the effects of the declining national economy and recession,” Taylor said. “We will continue to monitor the effects on our local economic condition.”
December retail sales tax figures are expected to be completed in February. That month, which is one of the busiest for the resort, is considered the barometer to determine how future sales tax revenue will be.
(YTD net retail sales and percentage change from 2007)
Tourist accommodations: $130,896,713 6.3%
Restaurants/bars: $79,909,616 4.1%
Sports equipment/clothing: $28,040,578 13.4%
Clothing stores: $39,957,336 -1.6%
T-Shirt stores: $1,506,129 -16.1%
Fur stores: $901,468 14.7%
Liquor stores: $7,359,539 7.7%
Utilities: $36,568,532 14.3%
General retail: $40,884,813 1.4%
Specialty retail: $22,933,684 -11.1%
Jewelry: $6,785,438 -15.2%
Galleries: $4,488,766 2.6%
Food and drug stores: $46,280,722 6.0%
Miscellaneous: $2,128,860 -28.4%
Total: $448,642,194 3.9%
Monthly retail sales and percentage change from 2007)
Tourist accommodations: $2,933,122 -17.0%
Restaurants/bars: $3,056,409 -8.3%
Sports equipment/clothing: $1,056,401 -19.6%
Clothing stores: $1,463,049 -28.6%
T-Shirt stores: $30,973 22.5%
Fur stores: $8,809 49.8%
Liquor stores: $442,411 -0.5%
Utilities: $3,054,337 2.7%
General retail: $3,544,383 9.4%
Specialty retail: $660,731 46.3%
Jewelry: $67,668 58.8%
Galleries: $58,615 37.9%
Food and drug stores: $2,905,285 4.2%
Miscellaneous: $78,690 35.2%
Total: $19,366,883 -9.3%
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