Aspen, Snowmass retailers see big bumps in business this June

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

Aspen retailers reported $51.6 million in sales in June, a 13 percent increase compared with $45.7 million in sales during the same month in 2013, according to the city’s monthly consumption report.

Sales for the most recent June reflect a massive increase in early-summer business over the past 10 years. For example, city Finance Department records show that retailers garnered $33.5 million in June 2005, about $18 million less than sales that were captured two months ago.

Even the $40.2 million captured in June 2007, the year before the Great Recession started to affect local sales, was no match for June this year.

The retail categories posting the biggest gains in June, compared with June 2013, were automobile sales (36 percent), liquor and marijuana (34 percent), accommodations (20 percent) and clothing (17 percent), the report said. The only retail category that declined was general retail, which posted a 7 percent decrease.

Finance Director Don Taylor noted in a memorandum to the City Council that the June report marks the first inclusion of marijuana sales into the liquor category. Previously, it had been reported in the miscellaneous category.

In June 2013, liquor accounted for $748,159 of Aspen’s retail sales, according to the city’s monthly report one year ago. The June 2014 listing for the category of liquor and marijuana shows a total of $1.17 million. However, the difference cannot be seen as totally attributable to the influx of recreational marijuana shops this year; liquor-store sales may have improved.

Accommodations, the category covering hotel and lodge bookings, totaled $14.8 million in June, compared with $12.2 million last year. Accommodations accounted for 29 percent of all June 2013 sales.

June generally accounts for 7 to 9 percent of a year’s retail sales, the report said.

Denver-based DestiMetrics LLC, which tracks resort activity, said last month that Aspen’s overall paid occupancy in June was 60.6 percent — nearly 10 percent greater compared with June of last year.

Bill Tomcich, president of reservations firm Stay Aspen Snowmass, pointed out in a recent email that Aspen business “was very strong in June with total occupancies at or in excess of 90 percent on five nights (compared with just two last year) thanks to three successive very strong weekends.”

Aspen’s big-draw events in June included the Cosmetic Boot Camp, the Food & Wine Classic and the Aspen Ideas Festival.

The city’s 2.1 percent sales tax pulled in $1.08 million, a nearly 15 percent increase compared with June 2013’s $939,897.

Snowmass Village also enjoyed a healthy June compared with last year. The town reported general-fund sales tax collections of $61,534 and marketing-fund sales tax collections of $153,836, representing a 13 percent increase in both cases compared with June 2013.

In Snowmass, overall paid occupancy for June was 36.7 percent, nearly 30 percent greater than June 2013, according to DestiMetrics. Tomcich previously has said that the Snowmass lodging industry may have benefited in June from spillover from some of Aspen’s events.


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