Thanks, Snowmass: Aspen retail sales hit $69 million in July |

Thanks, Snowmass: Aspen retail sales hit $69 million in July

Aspen retailers continue to show a hot sales hand, posting nearly $69 million in sales during July, a 12.8 percent increase compared with $61.15 million during the same month last year, according to the city’s monthly consumption report.

The $68.99 million total likely is the largest July sales figure in Aspen’s history. City of Aspen records dating back to 2003 don’t show a July figure anywhere close to that amount. In 2007, just before the Great Recession began to affect the local economy, retailers recorded $52.45 million in sales.

Bill Tomcich, president of reservations firm Stay Aspen Snowmass, said that Snowmass Village had a lot to do with Aspen’s big sales gain of $7.85 million from July 2013 to July 2014. The month got off to a fast start in both markets, with local Fourth of July celebrations and the Wanderlust yoga festival occurring on the first weekend.

Snowmass also hit its stride in July with free Thursday night concerts at Fanny Hill and several small group events.

“The largest single cause for that boost definitely was the huge increase in visitors staying in Snowmass in July this year,” Tomcich said. “Obviously, when people stay in Snowmass, there’s no question they are going to spend some money in Aspen.”

Aspen’s lodging occupancy officially fell 5.6 percent in July, while Snowmass posted a 21.1 percent gain compared with July 2013, according to a recent report by Denver-based resort-tracking firm DestiMetrics LLC.

But there’s much more to the story than that, Tomcich said. While the DestiMetrics report shows a drop in Aspen’s midsummer occupancy rate, a greater number of owner and non-revenue stays in July actually boosted “pure occupancy” for the month to more than 82 percent.

“We may soon need to clearly differentiate between the paid versus pure occupancies and report on both,” Tomcich wrote in an occupancy-report summary last month.

With Aspen hotels, lodges and condominium units nearly full during July, Snowmass Village captured the spillage, he said.

“The fact that there were slightly fewer paid overnight guests in Aspen in July does not at all suggest that town wasn’t extremely busy,” Tomcich wrote. “In fact, there were a total of nine nights in July when total occupancy in Aspen was either at or greater than 90 percent versus six nights (in July 2013).”

Also in Aspen, thanks to the demand for units by owners and drop-in visitors, average revenue per room increased 3 percent and the average daily rate for rooms was 9 percent higher.

The city’s latest consumption report shows that the accommodations category, representing lodges and hotels, raked in $111 million, a 12 percent increase compared with the previous July. The restaurant and bar, sports equipment and clothing, liquor and marijuana, construction, luxury goods, automobile, miscellaneous and clothing categories also posted double-digit percentage gains.

The city’s 2.1 percent sales tax generated $1.47 million, a 16 percent increase compared with July 2013’s $1.26 million, the report added.

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