Lots of snow couldn’t save April sales | AspenTimes.com

Lots of snow couldn’t save April sales

Scott Condon
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Retail sales pooped out in Aspen despite a spectacular end to the ski season, according to a report by the city finance department.

Total retail sales were down 8.4 percent to $17.45 million, the report said. Lodges, hotels and other tourist accommodations had a vacant month with sales slipping nearly 22 percent. Restaurants and bars had less than a full plate as sales dropped 4 percent.

Sports equipment and clothing stores, liquor stores, and food and drug stores were among the few bright spots in Aspen’s economy for April. Each of those sectors posted various-sized gains in sales for the month.

Sales for January through April – the bulk of ski season – were down 3.1 percent from last year, the city’s report said. Sales for that period hit $142.5 million.

Tourist accommodations, the biggest sector of the economy, saw sales sag 6 percent to $44.34 million for that period.

Restaurants and bars managed to serve up a 2.6 percent gain for the winter and early spring.

The effects of the lackluster winter produced mixed results for the city’s tax coffers. Sales tax revenues through April are 2.5 percent below last year’s pace but 2.1 percent higher than what was budgeted. About $3.14 million was collected through April by the city’s 2.2 percent sales tax.

The city’s 1 percent lodging tax fund was down 3.3 percent through April compared to last year but up 2.4 percent from the amount budgeted. That kitty stood at about $380,000 through April.

The real estate transfer tax for the Wheeler Opera House plummeted 18 percent below last year’s level but were 12 percent higher than anticipated in the budget. That fund had about $521,000 through March. The real estate transfer tax was 20 percent below last year’s mark through March and 2 percent below budget expectations.