Retail sales way up in November
Although it’s way too early to label this ski season a success or a failure, it at least started with a bang.
Retail sales in Aspen surged nearly 14 percent in November compared to the same month last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the city of Aspen’s finance department.
Business operators of various types said that great early-season snow conditions fueled more activity for the opening month of ski season.
Those conditions allowed the Aspen Skiing Co. to open Aspen Mountain and Snowmass Ski Area as scheduled on Nov. 18. More terrain was open by mid-November than there was in mid-December 1999, when resorts across Colorado were plagued by a lack of snow.
Retail sales for businesses within the city of Aspen totaled $18.2 million in November, according to the report. (Lift ticket sales are exempt from the sales tax.)
Leading the strong sales were tourist accommodations, general retail shops, sporting goods and clothing stores.
Tourist accommodations saw sales jump 18 percent over last year to $2.45 million.
General retail stores enjoyed a 21.3 percent increase to $2.07 million.
More skis and snowboards were apparently flying out the door. Sporting goods sales increased 68 percent to $1.52 million.
And clothing stores cashed in on a 10.8 percent leap in sales to $1.87 million.
People may have spent more time skiing this November and less time partying and power shopping, however. November wasn’t so bountiful for restaurants and boutiques.
Restaurants and bars saw sales sag 1.6 percent for the month, down to $2.66 million.
Special retail stores, which include Aspen’s high-end boutiques, were down 9.1 percent $1.54 million.
For all of 2000 through November, sales were up 4.5 percent to $351.19 million compared to the same point the prior year.
The finance department bases its reports on sales taxes paid to the city and state. Allowable lags in payment lead to delays in reports. December’s statistics won’t be available until early February.
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Colorado has been hit with a substantial spike in COVID-19 cases, with one in 41 residents believed to be contagious. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, warned during a virtual news conference that Colorado is not alone in seeing a spike in cases and pleaded with people not to travel or gather in large groups.