Nov. Aspen retail sales down slightly

Staff report

Following a better-than-expected October, retail sales in Aspen were down slightly in November compared with the same month last year.

According to the city’s monthly consumption tax report, sales in November totaled $22.28 million, a 1.5 percent drop compared with November 2012’s $22.62 million.

Accommodations, the sector representing hotel and lodge bookings, fell 10 percent to $2.6 million. The restaurants-and-bars category was down 4 percent compared with last year, garnering $3.2 million. However, the sports-equipment-and-clothing category experienced a 38 percent increase to $1.6 million.

The city’s 2.1 percent sales tax collected $465,048 in November, a 2 percent decrease compared with the same month in 2012, according to the report. The city previously had budgeted sales tax collections of $505,000 for November and was off the mark by 8 percent.

“Despite the mountain opening two weekends early, retail sales for November were down (nearly) 2 percent from the same period in 2012 and this is thought to be partially due to Thanksgiving being so late this year,” said a cover letter accompanying the report from Aspen Finance Director Don Taylor. In 2013, the Thanksgiving holiday fell on Nov. 28.

For the first 11 months of last year, retail sales in Aspen totaled $482.18 million, a 6 percent increase compared with the January-to-November period of 2012.

The year-to-date figures supplied by the city show that accommodations rose 11 percent, hitting $129.1 million, compared with the first 11 months of 2012.

Restaurants and bars also showed a healthy 4 percent increase, totaling $88.9 million in the year-to-date arena.