Another strong month for retail sales in February |

Another strong month for retail sales in February

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The city saw its largest sales tax increase in four years in February, based on month-over-month comparisons.

Retail sales were up nearly 7.3 percent in February, compared to collections for the same month last year, according to the city’s February sales tax report issued this week.

“That’s certainly a number we haven’t seen in a while,” Glenwood Springs City Manager Jeff Hecksel said. “February is typically one of our lower months.”

“To see that kind of increase was a big surprise,” he said, especially with the lack of snow this winter for skiing.

Glenwood Springs’ accommodations (lodging) tax continues on the plus side as well, up a little more than 16 percent for February. That follows an 8.38 percent lodging tax increase in January.

Retail sales in Glenwood Springs have been trending on the plus side since February of 2011. That follows more than two years of negative sales tax numbers after the 2008 recession.

A total of $933,952 in taxes from retail sales was collected in February 2012, up from $870,609 for February 2011. Sales taxes were also up nearly 4.9 percent in January.

February’s 7.28 percent was the largest single month-over-month increase since last June, when retail sales were up about 5 percent.

But, the continuing upward trend in sales taxes, which account for about half of the city’s general fund budget revenues, is still not enough to make any significant changes to the city budget, Hecksel said.

“One or two months into our budget year doesn’t make a trend,” he said. “We would need to see a long string of months with that kind of return in order to change our world.”

The city ended 2011 with a 1.7 percent increase in sales tax for the year compared to 2010. That was better than the forecasted 1 percent increase used to prepare the city’s 2012 budget, Hecksel said.

This year’s budget was based on a 2 percent increase over 2011. To date, sales taxes are up a little more than 6 percent for the year.

“We just have to hope that trend continues,” Hecksel said.

The monthly sales tax report also includes a retail sector breakdown.

Through the first two months, sales at general merchandise stores have been up 6.6 percent over 2011, food sales are up 5 percent, restaurants are up nearly 3 percent, and sales of building materials and supplies are up 13 percent.

However, sales of apparel and accessories are down about 4 percent for the year, as are miscellaneous retail sales.

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