Sales up 3.3 percent from last January |

Sales up 3.3 percent from last January

Janet Urquhart

Aspen’s January sales bested the first month of 2004 by just 3.3 percent, but then, last year’s January was hardly a slack month.Winter X Games crowds did their best to consume all the food and beer in town on the final weekend of January this year, and sales for the month bested last year’s record January.This year’s January sales totaled $46.8 million, according to figures released Friday by the city’s Finance Department. That’s a record for the first month of the year, topping the old record of $45.3 million, set in January 2004.Sales tax and lodging tax collections were relatively flat in January, compared to the same month a year ago, noted Paul Menter, city finance director.”However, January 2004 was a stellar sales tax month in comparison to previous activity,” he said in a report on this year’s sales activity. “This might be only a glitch in the trend which started last year, or it may signal the stabilization of our recovering economy.”In the first month of 2005, lodging sales were up 4 percent compared to January 2004 and restaurant/bar business was up about 3 percent. Together, the two categories made up slightly more than half of the overall sales for the month.Among other large categories, clothing store sales were up about 15 percent and sports equipment/clothing sales climbed 7.3 percent.Utilities were down 15.2 percent, reflecting a far warmer January than Aspen experienced a year ago.General retail sales, including such items as hardware and appliances, were up 24.4 percent; specialty retail sales – gifts, books, antiques, luggage and the like – were up about 2 percent.Food and drug sales climbed 3.6 percent for the month and liquor store receipts were up about 7 percent.Among the small retail categories – each accounted for less than 1 percent of January’s overall sales – gallery sales were up a whopping 33 percent, T-shirt sales were down 13.5 percent, fur sales were down 1.7 percent and jewelry sales were off last year’s pace by 18.4 percent.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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