November sales take dip |

November sales take dip

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

After a strong October, retail sales in Aspen dipped nearly 2 percent in November, according to sales tax figures released Wednesday by the city’s finance office.

Aspen was not on the schedule for World Cup races over the Thanksgiving weekend in 2003, and the month’s sales activity may reflect the loss of the event.

Hotels and lodges, which enjoyed an influx of racers and their support staff for World Cup races in November 2002, saw an 11.5 percent drop in sales in November 2003. Restaurant/bar receipts were down 4.6 percent in November, compared to the same month in 2002.

For the first 11 months of 2003, overall sales were up 0.2 percent compared to the same period in 2002.

In November alone, sports equipment/clothing and general clothing sales were down, as was the speciality retail category, which includes such items as gifts, books, antiques and luggage.

General retail ” paint, hardware, appliances and the like ” was up 13.4 percent, while food and drug sales were up 19 percent, compared to November 2002.

Utilities for the month were up 5.4 percent, but liquor store sales were down nearly 7 percent.

For the first 11 months of 2003, tourist accommodations were down 3.4 percent, while restaurant/bar business was up by the same amount. Together, the two categories make up nearly half of Aspen’s overall retail sales.

Overall sales for the month of November, based on sales tax collections, totaled $15 million. Sales for the first 11 months of the year totaled $319.7 million.

The final sales figures for the year, which won’t be available until next month, are expected to reflect a jump in retail activity. Hotels and other businesses reported a strong holiday season.

Aspen also saw a rebound in December 2002, when sales were up 10.4 percent compared to the final month of 2001.

While the city’s sales tax collections through November 2003 were up slightly, compared to 2002, collections continue to lag behind taxes collected in 2001, 2000, 1999 and 1998.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is]

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