Basalt’s retail sales down 4.8 percent in March |

Basalt’s retail sales down 4.8 percent in March

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen CO Colorado

BASALT – Retail sales fell nearly 5 percent in Basalt in March although there were a couple of areas of strength in the town’s economy.

Overall, retail sales collections fell from $254,702 in March 2010 to $242,486 for the month this year, according to a report by Basalt Finance Director Judi Tippetts.

Retail food establishments, which include City Market and Clark’s Market, posted an increase in sales of 4.84 percent. That’s significant because that category is the single-biggest retail sales tax generator for the town.

Sales tax revenues from retail food businesses increased from $97,083 in March 2010 to $101,777 for the month this year.

Sporting retail stores also posted a gain, about 15 percent over the same month last year.

Lodging and retail liquor establishments posted modest gains in March over 2010.

Three important sectors of Basalt’s economy experienced a drop in sales in March, including restaurants with bars, general retail and building supplies. Restaurants with bars were down 16 percent for the month compared to March 2010. General retail, which includes many of Basalt’s mom-and-pop stores, was off nearly 2 percent. Sales by building supply companies fell another 24 percent, continuing a trend that started in late 2008.

For the first four months of Basalt’s fiscal year, which started in December, sales tax collections by businesses of all types are down 2.54 percent over the same period the prior year, the report showed. Business leaders and town officials will be looking more closely at retail sales during the summer months, Basalt’s bread-and-butter season.

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