Basalt sales stay strong in August with 21% gain over 2019 |

Basalt sales stay strong in August with 21% gain over 2019

Staff report
Whole Foods and Four Dogs Wine & Spirits are two anchor stores at Willits Town Center. Sales of groceries and retail liquor have been huge for Basalt this year.
Aspen Times file

Another strong month in August has Basalt flush with sales tax revenues through the third quarter of its fiscal year.

Sales tax revenues were up nearly 21% in August compared with the same month the year before, according to the September sales tax report released Monday. Basalt collected $747,216 this year compared with $618,187 for the month last year.

The surge continued a summer-long trend of Basalt exceeding retail spending during a pandemic.

General retail, sporting goods retail, restaurants with bars and liquor stores all enjoyed strong sales, the report said. Restaurants with bars capitalized on outdoor dining and logged a 39% increase over August last year. Restaurants without bars didn’t enjoy the same fate. Sales were down 17%.

General retail sales were up 23% while sporting goods retail was up nearly 14%, the report said. That doesn’t necessarily reflect brick-and-mortar sales. The report noted that taxing of online purchases has buoyed sales tax collections this year.

Retail liquor sales were up 13.6%. Sales of building materials surged 89.5%.

Retail food establishments, Basalt’s single biggest sales tax generator, were up 6.6% in August, the September report showed.

For the year-to-date Basalt’s sales tax collections are up 15.3%, the report showed. Because sales tax payments and recording lag behind actual sales, the latest report reflects sales from December 2019 through August.

The town has collected $5.54 million in sales tax revenues so far this year compared with $4.81 million at the same time last year.

One of the challenges of the 2021 budget will be peering in a crystal ball to estimate if sales can continue the torrid pace.

Grocery stores are up an impressive 10% from the same period the prior year. Retail food sales have generated $1.88 million in sales tax for the town.

General retail sales, sporting goods sales, retail liquor and building materials are among other strong performers. Lodging and restaurants with and without bars are among sectors that are lagging behind 2019.