January sales rise 1.7 percent | AspenTimes.com

January sales rise 1.7 percent

Aspen’s retail sales in January were up 1.7 percent, compared to the same month last year, but hardly matched the resort’s blockbuster December, when receipts were up 10.4 percent.

Tourist accommodations in January were actually down 2.3 percent, though the month saw Gay Ski Week and the start of ESPN’s Winter X Games at Buttermilk, typically busy periods for the resort.

Restaurants/bars, on the other hand, saw a 3.8 percent jump in business in January, compared to the same month a year ago, according to figures released Tuesday by the city finance office.

Food and drug sales were up 14 percent and liquor store sales were up 11.5 percent, based on sales tax collections for the month.

Sports/equipment clothing sales were off pace by 9.6 percent, while general clothing sales were up almost 2 percent for the month.

General retail sales, including such items as hardware and appliances, were down 8.4 percent in January, but specialty retail sales – gifts, books, antiques, luggage and the like – were up 13.2 percent.

Utilities were down 0.7 percent.

Overall sales for the month totaled $38.7 million.

Aspen’s sales tax collections for the month were up 3.1 percent, while lodging tax collections were down 2.5 percent, according to a memo from finance director Paul Menter. The difference is probably attributable to delinquent sales taxes collected in January, along with what was actually produced in January, while the lodging tax revenues came solely from activity in January, he concluded.

The collection of Aspen’s real estate transfer taxes lagged for the first two months of 2003. Through February, revenues from the RETT dedicated to housing were down 7 percent from 2002 collections.

In December, Aspen closed the books on a year that saw retail sales drop 1.8 percent, compared to 2001. Activity during the month of December alone, however, was up a whopping 10.4 percent from the same month last winter.

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