March was a money-maker |

March was a money-maker

Although last winter was considered a bust by many business operators, at least the busiest month of the season stayed busy.

Total retail sales in March – typically the busiest month of the year in Aspen – were up 5.6 percent from last year, according to a report by the city finance department. Sales reached $54.08 million, making it the best March ever.

Tourist accommodations experienced a strong month with $18.4 million in sales, up 4 percent from March 1999. Restaurants and bars, however, experienced a collective 2.6 percent drop in business to $9.85 million.

Most other sectors of the economy reported gains in March: Sports equipment and clothing stores were up 7 percent to $5.02 million. Clothing stores were up 1.1 percent to $4.9 million. Specialty retail shops were up 13 percent to $3.61 million. General retail shops were up 18.1 percent to $2.61 million. Food and drug stores were flat at $4.14 million. The performance of individual businesses in those categories likely varied from the average.

Previous reports by the finance department showed that business was also up in February. Sales were up 6.6 percent to $45.23 million in February.

The fantastic finish was offset by a lousy start to the season. Sales in January were down 13.68 percent.

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