September sales a mixed bag in Basalt | AspenTimes.com

September sales a mixed bag in Basalt

BASALT – Basalt restaurants and retail shops overall experienced strong sales in September compared to 2009, although it was offset by another poor month of sales of groceries and building materials.

The town government’s latest sales tax report showed sales by restaurants with bars jumped 34 percent in September. Retail shops saw sales soar nearly 30 percent for the month.

For the town’s fiscal year-to-date, December through September, sales by restaurants with bars are up 8.75 percent, while retail shops have managed an increase of 3.4 percent over 2009. However, neither major business sector has recovered to pre-recession activity of 2008.

Although the recession hit in fall 2008, sales tax revenues didn’t dive for the towns and counties in the Roaring Fork Valley until 2009.

There are still no signs of recovery for the retail food and building categories. Sales in the retail food category, which is dominated by City Market, were down 4.25 percent for the month. For the year to date, sales of retail food is off 6 percent. Basalt Town Manager Bill Kane believes that reflects fewer people in the valley.

Sales of building materials were down 36 percent in September, and they are down 28 percent for the first 10 months of the year. Sales in both categories are well below the 2008 levels, the town’s report shows.

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The fate of the grocery stores has a huge impact on the town’s budget. Sales by retail food stores typically account for at least one-third of Basalt’s annual sales tax receipts.

So far this year, Basalt has collected $2.67 million in sales tax revenues, compared to $2.8 million at the same point last year and $3.2 million in 2008.

Even liquor sales are sliding, down almost 2 percent for the year.

scondon@aspentimes.com