Basalt sales tax revenues soar 36% in April |

Basalt sales tax revenues soar 36% in April

Restaurants, lodges crushed it compared to last spring

Business has picked up for the summer in downtown Basalt. The town’s sales tax revenues are up 18 percent year-to-date through April.
Scott Condon/Aspen Times file

Basalt’s post-pandemic economy has roared to life in 2021 compared with the rough going in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, according to the town government’s May sales tax report.

Total sales in the town were up nearly 36%, according to the May report, which reflects actual sales in April.

Restaurants and lodges were among the hardest hit of all businesses at the start of the pandemic because of closures and capacity limits. They have bounced back big-time in 2021. The lodging industry’s sales increased 518% over April 2020, according to the May report. Restaurants with bars were up 200% while restaurants without bars were up 158%, the report said.

General retail sales and sporting goods sales continued the strong showing they registered during the pandemic. General retail was up 37.6% in April while sporting goods retail was up 198%, according to the report.

People bought less liquor in April than they did in April 2020, when the pandemic was forcing many people to stay at home. Retail liquor sales were down 6% for the month.

Also dropping were retail food sales, anchored by Basalt’s two large grocery stores. Retail food sales were down 14% in April compared with the same month last year, when everybody was eating at home instead of going out to restaurants.

Businesses that sell building materials continue to benefit from the boom that started during the pandemic. Sales in April were up 109%.

For the month, Basalt collected $665,533 in total sales tax revenue compared with $490,597 the year before.

This year’s sales also were well above the pre-pandemic level of $521,757 set in April 2019.

For the year-to-date, sales tax collections are up 18% in Basalt, according to the May report. That reflects sales from December 2020 through April 2021.

Sales of building materials were up 71.5% over that period. Retail sales were up 23.4% and sporting goods retail was up nearly 49%.

Retail food sales are down 3.5% year-to-date.

“However, Retail Food has increased over pre-COVID numbers, showing strong growth in that sector since 2019,” the report said.

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