Aspen retailers slip in March, down slightly vs. 2017 |

Aspen retailers slip in March, down slightly vs. 2017

Staff report

flat sales in March

The city of Aspen’s Finance Department reported this week that retail sales were down 1 percent compared to March 2017. Here’s a breakdown of how Aspen’s retail sectors performed in March.

Category March sales Percent change prior year

Accommodations $30.1 million (7%)

Restaurants & Bars $14.5 million (8%)

Sports equipment/clothing $7.7 million 10%

Clothing $6.4 million (4%)

Food & Drug $4.9 million (5%)

Liquor $1.1 million 3%

Misc. $5.6 million 17%

Construction $6 million 12%

Luxury goods $2.4 million 6%

Utilities $4.7 million 10%

Automobile $1.3 million (22%)

Marijuana $1.5 million 10%

Total $86.1 million (1%)

Source: Finance Department, city of Aspen

Cash registers at Aspen’s retailers slowed down just a tad in March, with sales slipping 1 percent compared with the same month in 2017.

The city’s Consumption Tax Report, released Thursday, showed that five of the 12 retail sectors posted losses in March, including the two that accounted for more than half of the $86.1 million that was rung up that month.

Accommodations — or lodges and hotels — recorded $30.1 million in sales, down 7 percent from March 2017. Restaurants and bars hauled in $14.5 million, down 8 percent.

Posing double-percentage gains were miscellaneous (17 percent), construction (12 percent), utilities (12 percent) and marijuana and sports equipment (both 10 percent).

For the first quarter of the year, retail sales are pacing 3 percent ahead of the first three months of 2017, according to the report. January through February accounted for $250.8 million in sales, led by accommodations ($90 million) and restaurants and bars ($42.9 million).

March accounts for 12 percent of the year’s total sales tax collections, the city said.

A lack of snow has been the chief factor for this year’s flat sales, businesses said during the ski season.

That also is reflected in the city’s 2 percent lodging tax, which brought in $513,146 in collections in March, a 5 percent slip, and $1.5 million for the first quarter, down 3 percent.