Retail economy hums along in May

Aspen Times StaffAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN The May closure of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport apparently didn’t hamper local retailers, who rang up $16.6 million in sales, an 8.9 percent spike over May 2006, according to a report released Monday by the city of Aspen’s finance department.Sales tax collections in May also were strong, outpacing May 2006 by 15.3 percent, data shows.Year-to-date figures for the first five months of 2007, meanwhile, showed Aspen retailers posting $214.7 million in sales, a 4.4 percent boost over the same period last year. Lodging taxes also were ahead of pace, up 5.3 percent in May over May 2006, as well as 8.9 percent ahead for the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2006, the city reported. “The year to date sales and lodging tax revenues appear to be doing quite well, in spite of the airport closure and unusually warmer spring,” Aspen finance director Paul Menter wrote in a memo to the Aspen City Council. May sales for Aspen’s retail industries are broken down as follows:Tourist accommodations – $1.8 million, down 14.1 percent from May 2006Restaurants/bars – $2.7 million, up 0.1 percentSports equipment/clothing – $537,956, up 3.1 percentClothing stores – $1.3 million, up 14.1 percentT-shirt stores – $41,256, down 3.4 percentLiquor stores – $344,100, up 2.7 percentUtilities – $2.6 million, up 5.6 percentGeneral retail – $3 million, up 42.3 percentSpecialty retail – $932,884, down 21.4 percentJewelry – $733,431, up 393.5 percentGalleries – $28,500, down 62.4 percentFood and drug stores – $2.6 million, up 7 percentMiscellaneous – $114,584, down 1 percent