Basalt retail sales flat in July |

Basalt retail sales flat in July

BASALT – Sales tax revenues increased by only $53 – or 0.02 percent – during the busiest month of the year in Basalt compared to the same month last year, according to a report prepared by the town finance department.

Basalt reaped $331,362 in July to essentially match last July’s collection. That was better than July 2009 and 2010 but still $63,375 or 16 percent below the pre-recession amount collected in July 2008.

Mayor Jacque Whitsitt said she was surprised by the figures, given how busy it appeared to be in shops and restaurants downtown, in West Basalt and in Willits Town Center last month.

The sales tax figures don’t reflect the impact Whole Foods Market has had on the town’s coffers. Whole Foods opened in mid-August. The report for that month won’t be out until late-October. The organic and natural foods grocer has pulled in a large number of out-of-town shoppers so Basalt is expecting greater sales tax revenues. However, Whole Foods also might be eating into City Market’s business.

Basalt’s results for July also were disappointing because Aspen logged such a strong month. Retail sales were up by $2.84 million or 5.3 percent in Aspen.

In Basalt, only a few business categories eked out gains in retail sales in July. General retail sales were up nearly 2 percent, while stores selling sporting goods managed only a 0.25 increase. Grocery sales were up 2.54 percent. Restaurants without bars were up 20.6 percent.

On the other end of the ledger, retail liquor sales were off 1.35 percent. Restaurants with bars saw a 2.78 percent decline.

For the fiscal year to date, Basalt retail sales still are up 4 percent. The town has collected $2,189,959 in sales tax revenues from December through July compared to $2,104,716 over the same period last year.

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