Glenwood Springs’ May sales report may forebode strong summer |

Glenwood Springs’ May sales report may forebode strong summer

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — If retail sales in May coupled with June visits to the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association’s downtown welcome center are any indication, the city is off to a strong summer tourist season.

“We had a record number of visitors to our welcome center last month with more than 8,000 visits,” said Marianne Virgili, executive director for the Chamber Resort Association.

“From the indications we’ve seen, June was a great month, Strawberry Days numbers were up, and we just had a great Fourth of July weekend,” she said.

Although June sales figures for the city of Glenwood Springs won’t be known until early August, the May numbers were back on the positive side following a sluggish start to the year.

Retail sales in Glenwood Springs were up 4.5 percent in May, compared to the same month last year. That follows three straight months of negative numbers in the month-over-month comparison.

For the year to date, sales are still running just 0.86 percent ahead of the 2012 figures. But the May figures would seem to bode well for the summer months and the height of Glenwood’s tourist season.

The city’s accommodations tax, collected on hotel and motel stays and other lodging properties, was also up 10.5 percent in May and for the year to date is running about 5.3 percent ahead of last year, according to the city’s latest sales and accommodations tax report.

“We have been marketing a lot, and especially doing a lot of social media marketing and getting our message out that way,” Virgili said.

“Having two new attractions at the Caverns [Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park] and the Hot Springs Pool’s 125th birthday have been a huge boom for tourism,” she said. “And we had probably our biggest crowd ever at the park and at the parade for Strawberry Days.”

The annual festival fell a week later than usual this year on the weekend of June 21-23, rather than on Father’s Day weekend with which it typically coincides.

“We were really nervous about that, but it wasn’t a problem at all,” Virgili said.

Nice weather and the earlier-than-normal Memorial Day weekend in May also helped to get the tourist season off to a good start, she added.

A breakdown of retail sales in Glenwood Springs by category for the year show increases over last year through five months in 11 of 14 retail sectors.

That includes a 5.6 percent increase to date in apparel and accessories, 4.3 percent in motel/hotel, 11.9 percent for health and recreation, 0.84 percent for restaurants and bars, 0.24 percent for food stores, 4 percent for building materials and supplies, and 2.6 percent for miscellaneous retail purchases.

Still lagging, however, are sales in the largest single retail category, general merchandise stores, which is still running 3.6 percent behind last year. Sales of furniture and home furnishings are also down 11.8 percent compared to last year.

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