October retail, lodging sales lukewarm in Aspen
October was the second straight month the city of Aspen experienced a decline in sales and lodging tax collections, but year-to-date totals remain comfortably ahead of the first 10 months of 2021, according to financial figures released this week.
In its monthly consumption tax report issued Thursday, the city’s financial department said October sales tax collections dropped 2.8% and lodging taxes fell 5.3% from October 2021. October is a quiet month in Aspen, accounting for approximately 6% of overall retail sales for the year.
Year-to-date totals paint a different picture.
The city’s 1.5% lodging tax had generated $3.6 million through October, which was 52.5% ahead of $2.4 million in receipts through October 2021, according to the report. January through March of this year accounted for $1.8 million of this year’s totals.
Overall sales tax collections through 10 months were $24 million, 20.8% ahead of last year through October.
Slight drops in September (down 2.2%) and October, however, indicate a minor slow-down.
“Given October is a slow tourist period and does not account for a significant portion of total annual revenues, these small declines are not impactful to City coffers, but trends around lodging occupancy are holding and reflect slight weakness in visitation as we push into the holiday season,” according to written comments from Pete Strecker, the city finance director, in the report.
The city’s report also showed that sales totals of $13.5 million in the accommodations sector represented a 13.3% drop-off from October 2021.
“This dampened experience often trickles into other sectors that rely on foot traffic from tourism; this year however had a bit of a mixed bag for this effect,” Strecker wrote, noting that while restaurant sales declined 3% in October and jewelers and galleries were down 11%, sporting clothing sales showed a 3% improvement and fashion clothing was up 8%. Strecker applied rounded percentage totals.
Overall, Aspen’s retail economy posted $63.8 million in sales in October.
The following is breakdown of the performance of each retail sector.
- Accommodations, $13.5 million, down 13.3%
- Restaurants/bars, $9.1 million, down 3%
- Sports equipment/clothing, $2.7 million, up 2.8%
- Fashion clothing, $7.7 million up 8.1%
- Construction, $7.2 million, down 5%
- Food and drug, $4.5 million, down 6.2%
- Liquor, $672,123, down 13.6%
- Miscellaneous, $7.6 million, down 21%
- Jewelry/gallery, $3.3 million, down 10.9%
- Utilities, $2.9 million, down 4.8%
- Automobile, $3.5 million, up 112.6%
- Cannabis, $515,543, down 38.6%
- Banks/finance, $358,291, up 44.6%
- Health/beauty, $117,863, down 56.5%
The remodel of Limelight Hotel Aspen took about six months to complete, but settling more than $3.4 million in overdue debts related to the project has taken twice the time so far.