Glenwood retail sales hitting record pace |

Glenwood retail sales hitting record pace

John Stroud

Retail sales in Glenwood Springs continue on record pace through the third quarter of the year, with a near 4.9 percent year-over-year increase to date, according to the city’s latest sales tax figures.
Sales were up 2.3 percent in September, and a strong first half of the year has the city on track to surpass last year’s $16.8 million in sales taxes collected. That number reflected $455 million in total retail sales for the city, which surpassed even pre-recession sales in 2007 and 2008.
To date through September, Glenwood Springs has collected nearly $13 million in sales taxes on roughly $350 million in total retail sales reported within city limits. The city has seen 32 straight months of positive sales trends.
Somewhat surprising given that Glenwood’s Sports Authority store closed in August along with other stores across the country due to the company’s bankruptcy, sales in the miscellaneous retail category are running 8.8 percent ahead of last year through nine months. That broad retail category includes sporting goods, along with such things as liquor, flowers and jewelry stores and the many smaller retail stores around town.
The continuing upward trend is good news for the city’s economy amid what began as an uncertain year given the disruptions caused by the start of the Grand Avenue bridge construction in January and continuing through next year.
It’s also good news as Glenwood Springs preps for a range of public infrastructure improvements and redevelopment projects over the next few years related to the bridge project, and to improve vehicle and pedestrian connections around the city in general.
With the latest figures, the city is running about 5 percent above what it had budgeted in the way of sales tax revenues for 2016, according to City Manager Debra Figueroa.
Tourism numbers stayed up through the busy summer season, including a 6.7 percent increase through nine months for the city’s lodging tax that goes to fund tourism promotion for Glenwood Springs. September saw a near 10 percent year-over-year increase in the special tax on overnight stays compared with the same month last year.
The occupancy rate for hotels, motels and other accommodations reporting to the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association was about the same through three quarters of 2016 as last year, according to stats provided by Glenwood Springs tourism officials. The average daily room rate for the year is up through October, though, from $127 to $134, leading in part to the higher tax figures.
Retail sales by sector through September are up 0.18 percent for general merchandise, which is the largest single category for Glenwood Springs including Target and Wal-Mart.
Sales through the third quarter were also up 9.7 percent for building materials and supplies, 1.7 percent for food stores, 3.9 percent for marijuana, 4.6 percent for automobile sales, parts and servicing, 1 percent for apparel and accessories, 2.5 percent for restaurants and bars, and 8.2 percent for regular sales taxes collected on hotel and motel stays.
Furniture and home furnishings is the only sector that is down significantly compared to last year, at -6.4 percent, according to the third-quarter report.

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