Glenwood Springs sales nearly even through first quarter
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Retail sales within the city of Glenwood Springs dipped in March, and through the first quarter of 2013 are running just barely ahead of last year’s figures.
According to the city’s first-quarter sales tax report issued recently, sales fell 4.8 percent in March compared to the same month last year.
A total of $1.16 million in sales tax was collected for that month, on approximately $31.3 million in retail sales, based on the city’s 3.7 percent sales tax rate. That was down from roughly $32.8 million in retail sales for March of 2012, according to the monthly sales tax report.
“I don’t have a good overall theory as to why the big decrease in March,” said Mike Harman, finance director for the city of Glenwood Springs.
One possibility, he said, is that the Ross Dress for Less store opened in the Glenwood Springs Mall at the end of March last year. That helped provide a sales boost that was reflected throughout all of last year.
The city’s sales tax category for apparel and accessories is still running ahead of last year by 13.7 percent through the first quarter. But that number is likely to level off as sales figures begin to reflect the months since the new Ross store opened.
“The rest of the vendors are all over the board, some up, some down, even in the same business classification,” Harman said. “We can only hope that warmer weather that started in mid-April will begin to turn things around.”
Through the first three months of this year, sales are still running 0.17 percent ahead of last year.
But that figure shrunk with two straight months of sales declines in February and March, following a strong start to the year in January when retail sales were up 8.15 percent, compared to those same months last year.
Retail sales were also up 5.2 percent for 2012 as a whole, compared to the previous year. Whether the declining trend through March of this year continues, or whether retail sales level off, remains to be seen.
Sales activity in the largest single retail category, taking in general merchandise stores such as Target and Wal-Mart, was down 2.3 percent for the first quarter of the year. The biggest decreases were in furniture/home furnishings, down 18.8 percent, and transportation/utilities, down 8.2 percent.
Sales of building materials and supplies were down 1.4 percent through the first quarter, and restaurants and bars also saw a decrease of 1.2 percent, while food store sales were up 1.5 percent.
Increased sales were reported in automotive/service stations (+3.28 percent) and the miscellaneous retail category (+3.18 percent), which includes such businesses as sporting goods, office supply, jewelry, florists, liquor and drug stores.
As with retail sales, the city’s accommodations (lodging) tax also dropped in March, by 2.3 percent. Through the first quarter, though, the lodging tax was still running about 3.8 percent ahead of last year.
2012 retail sales distribution
Meanwhile, the annual area-by-area city sales tax distribution report issued by the Glenwood Springs Finance Office showed little change in 2012 compared to 2011.
Retail stores in the Glenwood Meadows shopping center, including Target, Lowe’s, Vitamin Cottage, Petco, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Sports Authority, still generate the largest percentage of sales for the city, at about 25 percent.
The Roaring Fork Marketplace, anchored by Wal-Mart, American Furniture Warehouse and Office Depot, pulls in 13 percent of the share.
Other areas of Glenwood Springs in order of sales distribution are 11th to 23rd Street, 14.3 percent; the main downtown area from Seventh to 11th Street and north of the Grand Avenue Bridge along Sixth Street, both at 9.3 percent; the Glenwood Springs Mall and West Glenwood in general, at 6.4 percent; and the area from 23rd Street to the south city limits, 6.3 percent.
Smaller percentages of retail sales also come from peddlers, sales outside the city, and out-of-state sales that are attributed to the city.
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