Aspen’s retail scene finished the summer strong, as August sales tax revenue in the city surpassed the previous year — up 4 percent, according to a consumption-based tax collections report released on Friday.
The industry posting the largest growth was accommodations, which was up 19 percent from last year, and was likely due in part to having a start and a finish for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
Utilities had the next largest increase, up 16 percent from the same month in 2011. Most other industries were in line with their 2011 sales, with the exception of luxury goods and automobile sales, which posted losses of 14 percent from August 2011. Spread across 12 categories, $48,788,057 was brought in in retail sales for the month; for the year, $372,971,139.
August generally accounts for between 8 and 9 percent of the entire year’s sales and collections. Year-to-date, retail sales are up 8 percent from the first eight months of 2011. All industries have increased sales since last year, with the exception of luxury goods and automobile sales.
This summer has produced strong retail sales — June sales tax receipts collected represent the single largest increase in four years — a whopping 16 percent over last year during the same month. July was up 5 percent from the same month in 2011. This year, May saw a 14 percent increase, according to the city’s report.
The lodging tax collections in August were up 23 percent from the same period in 2011. Through the first eight months, lodging tax collections were up 16 percent from 2011.
Aspen’s portion of Pitkin County’s sales tax for July was up 7 percent from 2011. Collections for the year are up 7 percent for the first seven months.
Real estate transfer tax collections, which fund the local affordable housing program and the Wheeler Opera House, posted increases between 125 and 135 percent from September of 2011. September collections were more than July and August combined. However, despite the strong month, 2012 is still down between 6 and 7 percent in RETT collections compared to 2011.
Year-to-date sales tax revenues are 5 percent above what was budgeted, and 9 percent above last year.