Aspen sales tax receipts drop 16 percent in August
October 5, 2009
ASPEN – Retail sales in Aspen were down 16 percent for the month of August, as the resort continued to feel the effects of a national economic recession, according to the city’s finance office.
The downward trend followed an 17 percent drop in retail sales in July and a 15 percent drop in June.
Overall sales for the year so far, through August, were off last year’s pace by 18 percent, according to a report released Monday by the finance office.
Aspen’s sales tax collections in August were down 15 percent, compared to the same month a year ago, according to Don Taylor, city finance director.
Tourist-oriented sales continued to struggle, Taylor noted. Tourist accommodations, the single biggest sector of the local retail economy on an annual basis, were down 37 percent in August and 26 percent for the year so far, according to the report. Restaurant/bar business, the second largest sector, was down 16 percent in August and 14 percent for the year.
Sports equipment/clothing sales were down 21 percent in August and clothing store/T-shirt shop receipts were down 18 percent. The one segment of the economy that posted gains was general retail, a category that includes hardware, lumber, paint, appliances and the like. It was up 48 percent.
Sales in August totaled $41.4 million; overall sales stood at $308 million for the year so far.
Lodging tax collections in August were down 38 percent, compared to the same month in 2008, and were down 28 percent for the year so far.
Aspen’s portion of Pitkin County’s sales tax for July (county numbers are a month behind the city’s collection data) was down 25 percent from 2008 – a larger decline that were the city’s collections in July, Taylor noted.
Revenues from the city’s real estate transfer tax dedicated to the Wheeler Opera House were up 1 percent in September, compared to the same month a year ago, while revenues from the real state transfer tax dedicated to housing remained flat. The taxes are collected on real estate transactions; revenues in March through July were down compared to 2008, while revenues in January, February, August and September were up.