November sales up 7 percent |

November sales up 7 percent

Janet Urquhart

Aspen retail sales in November were up 7 percent over the same month last year, despite drops in both lodging and restaurant/bar business, according to figures released today by the city’s finance department.

For the year, overall sales through November outpaced 2004 by 10 percent. December sales data ” and the year-end report ” won’t be available until next month, due to the lag time in reporting sales tax collections.

November saw an upswing in retail activity despite nearly a 12 percent drop in tourist accommodations and a 2.3 percent dip in restaurant/bar business, compared to November 2004. World Cup racing on Aspen Mountain, held Thanksgiving weekend in 2004, instead took place in mid-December in 2005, which may be a factor in the decline in November lodging receipts.

While tourist accommodations are the single largest segment of the retail economy, the drop in November is relatively insignificant, noted city Finance Director Paul Menter, as the month as a whole is the second slowest of the year for the resort. November receipts typically account for about 4 percent of total annual sales, he said.

November sales totaled $19 million, driven by strong sales in the sports equipment/clothing, general clothing, utilities, general retail and specialty retail categories.

Sports equipment/clothing sales were up 26 percent; clothing sales were up nearly 17 percent; utilities were up about 12 percent; general retail ” including such items as hardware and appliances ” was up almost 12 percent; and specialty retail, including gifts, books and antiques, was up 15.2 percent.

Fur sales were up a whopping 79.9 percent, compared to November 2004, but accounted for only .1 percent of overall sales for the month.

Overall sales for the first 11 months of 2005 totaled $380.4 million. Tourist accommodations and restaurant/bar sales were up 13.2 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, through November. Together, they account for close to half of overall sales.

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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