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Basalt sales surge slows

Basalt’s recent sales tax surge slowed in April despite another strong month for grocery stores.

Tax revenues collected in May for sales in April were up 9.5 percent compared to April 2012, according to a report by the town Finance Department. It was the first month this year that sales weren’t up by strong double digits. January sales were up 49 percent from the prior year. Sales were up 19 percent in February. In March, they were up 31 percent.

April brought a mixed bag for Basalt businesses. Grocery stores surged 30 percent above sales in April 2012, the report showed. Retail liquor establishments were up 22.5 percent.

However, other major sectors of the town’s tourist economy were down. Restaurants with bars saw their sales sag 10.6 percent. General-retail stores were off 6.3 percent from the year prior, while sporting goods stores were down nearly 2 percent. Sales of building materials were down 5.6 percent compared to April 2012.

The town sales tax report reflects general categories. Individual businesses perform better or worse than their category as a whole.

For the month, the town collected $268,769 in sales tax revenues compared to $245,300 in April 2012. That was the best performance for April in the past four years, but it didn’t match the sales for the month in 2008, before the recession hit.

Year-to-date sales from December through April are up 22.5 percent this fiscal year. The town has collected $1.63 million in sales tax revenues compared to $1.33 million over the same period last year.

Grocery-store sales are up 33.5 percent, largely the result of the opening of Whole Foods Market in August. General retail sales also are up 34 percent. Restaurants with bars aren’t faring as well. Sales were down 1 percent from December through April compared to the prior year.

Summer is Basalt’s busiest season, so sales reports for May through September will be an important gauge of the town’s economic health. In addition, there will be better apples-to-apples data starting with September to reflect the opening of Whole Foods.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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