Basalt business activity overall continues to sag |

Basalt business activity overall continues to sag

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – Basalt businesses saw sales sag another 9 percent in October compared to the same month last year, and year-to-date sales are off nearly 5 percent, according to the latest report by the town government finance department.

October is never a booming month because of the offseason, but it’s not a good sign that business activity overall fell from what was a very poor performance in October 2009.

The town collected $238,205 in sales tax revenues this October compared to $261,550 for the month last year and $291,250 in October 2008.

The retail food category, which is dominated by sales at City Market and Clark’s Market, was down almost 7 percent in October. For the year, retail food revenues are down about 6 percent. Grocery store sales are the single biggest contributor to Basalt’s sales tax pie.

Town officials have speculated that the drop in revenues from markets reflects fewer people in the valley. It can also mean shoppers aren’t filling their carts as full and they are going for discounts.

Liquor stores are also seeing a pinch. Sales by liquor stores are down 6.5 percent year-to-date compared to 2009.

Sales by businesses in the building industry were flat in October and they are down 25 percent during the town’s fiscal year-to-date, which started in December 2009.

General retail sales, which reflect activity at the mom-and-pop stores throughout Basalt, were down 10 percent in October. For the year, they’ve managed a 2.5 percent increase over a poor 2009. Retail shops are the second largest sales tax generator for the town’s coffers. They have generated $473,802 so far this fiscal year compared to $462,618 last year at the same point.

Sporting goods retail is a separate category. Sporting goods stores saw sales rise 13.5 percent in October compared to the same month last year. For the year-to-date, sales by sporting goods stores are up almost 6 percent.

Restaurants with bars have been one of the few bright spots for Basalt. Sales in the category were up 9.5 percent in October. For the year, sales by restaurants with bars are up a healthy 9 percent, according to the town report.

The restaurant scene is forever evolving. Fat Belly Eats opened in downtown Basalt this fall. Bee’s Bistro in Willits closed.

For the fiscal year-to-date, December through October, the town has collected $2.92 million in sales tax revenues this year compared to $3.06 million at the same point last year and $3.53 million in 2008.

The town government didn’t anticipate sales tax growth during 2011 in its budget.

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