August retail sales edge upward |

August retail sales edge upward

Retail sales in Aspen were up 2.7 percent in August and the resort’s overall sales for the year are up 7.6 percent, according to the latest figures released by the city’s finance office.

Most sectors posted gains in August, compared to the same month a year ago. Tourist accommodations, the largest single segment of the retail economy, were up 3.5 percent for the month and are up 8 percent for the year. Restaurants/bars were up 6.8 percent in August and are up 8.9 percent for the first eight months of the year. Together, the two categories make up nearly half of overall sales.

Sports equipment/clothing sales were up 6.8 percent in August, but general clothing retail activity was down 3.5 percent. Utilities were up a whopping 95.9 percent and general retail ” including hardware, appliances, paint and the like ” was up 20.4 percent for the month. Food and drug sales were up about 6 percent, and liquor sales were up 7.7 percent.

Retail sales in August totaled $44.4 million, according to the report. Sales for the first eight months of the year totaled $332.5 million.

Compared to Consumer Price Index Increase of 3.8 percent, the Aspen economy appears to be on a “solid foundation,” notes city Finance Director Paul Menter in the report. Based on sales through August, it appears the city will end the year with about 6 percent growth in sales tax proceeds and 9 percent growth in lodging tax revenue over 2005.

For more on the latest snapshot of Aspen’s retail activity, see Friday’s Aspen Times.

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