Basalt sales show modest growth
BASALT – The restaurant industry in Basalt enjoyed robust sales in June and lifted the town’s economy, but signs indicate that many other businesses are still struggling with slow recovery.
Sales by restaurants with bars were up 102 percent in June compared with the same month last year, according to a report by town finance director Judi Tippetts.
Overall Basalt sales tax revenues were up 5.5 percent for June compared with the same month the prior year. Sales for the month also topped 2009 and 2010.
Basalt’s success mirrors that of other towns in the Roaring Fork Valley. June’s retail sales in Aspen were the best in a decade, according to the city finance department. Sales for the month this year were up 15.6 percent over the same month last year.
Sales tax revenues were up 3 percent in June for Glenwood Springs.
But the June report also showed mixed signals for Basalt businesses. Stores selling sporting goods logged a big month with sales increasing 26 percent. Retail liquor establishments were up 9.4 percent. Grocery stores held their own for the month with sales up 1 percent from June 2011, the report showed.
On the other hand, sales tax revenues from lodging plummeted 49 percent from the same month the prior year. General retail shops saw their sales fall 4.6 percent. Businesses selling building materials continued to stumble, with sales down 1 percent in June.
The performance of individual businesses is likely different than the figures for the business community overall or even a specific category of businesses.
For the first seven months of fiscal 2012, the picture is a bit brighter for Basalt businesses overall. (July sales-tax figures aren’t available yet.) The town has collected $1.86 million in sales-tax revenues, better than the amounts collected over the same period in 2011 and 2010.
The town collected $1.78 million in 2011 and $1.80 million in 2010.
“Positive but modest growth is very exciting after the last four years,” said Tippetts. “Overall, I believe the fiscal health of our restaurants and retail stores really reflect the great character of our town.”
Fiscal year-to-date sales-tax collections are still behind the $1.92 million collected in 2009 and $2.15 million in 2008.
For this fiscal year through June, restaurants with bars saw sales increase 20 percent over the same period in 2011. General retail sales are up 15.6 percent while sport goods sales are up 13.7 percent. Sales by grocery stores were flat through June compared to the prior year, though the opening of Whole Foods Market this week is likely to bring in more sales taxes for Basalt.
“The economic resources this creates for the town is important as we enter our budget cycle, but more importantly, I am thrilled for every shop and restaurant owner who had a great month,” Tippetts said. “Sustainable growth will be key for both the government and private sector.”
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