Glenwood Springs’ February sales down, but not out
Retail sales in Glenwood Springs dropped off some in February, but what that means in the grand scheme of Glenwood’s economic picture as the first quarter closes out remains to be seen.
According to the city’s monthly sales tax report, sales took about a 2 percent dive in February compared to the same month last year, well before the impacts of the Grand Avenue Bridge closure took hold.
After a decent start to the new year in January, sales for the year are running just about even for the year to date, and with March/first quarter numbers still coming in.
“It’s way too early to know what the first quarter will bring,” Steve Boyd, city of Glenwood Springs finance director, said.
“Last I looked we were off some, but not everybody is in yet,” he said of the monthly vendor reports. “Some of the bigger retailers are in and aren’t looking particularly great, but fingers crossed overall that could change.”
Roughly 60 percent of the city’s general fund revenues come from sales taxes, and the city typically budgets about a 2 percent increase from year to year.
For the year to date, Glenwood Springs has collected about $2.3 million in general sales taxes, reflecting roughly $62.8 million in retail sales activity through two months. March numbers won’t be fully known until the middle of May.
On the plus side, Glenwood Springs has seen a continued increase in the lodging sector. The city’s separate accommodations, or bed, tax was up a little over 7 percent for February, and for the year to date is running 5.6 percent ahead of last year.
Other sectors also are performing well to start the year, including restaurant and bar business, up 1.1 percent; apparel and accessories, up 7.3 percent; and taxable transportation services and utilities, up 7.6 percent.
The largest single sector in terms of sales tax generation, general merchandise, was down 6.3 percent for February. Also lagging for the month were building materials and supplies, down 4.9 percent; food sales, down 3.3 percent; retail marijuana sales, down 16 percent; and miscellaneous retail, down 0.6 percent.
General sales taxes on overnight motel/hotel sales were also reported to be down over 6 percent for the month, but Boyd said that’s due to some delinquent sales tax receipts.
“They collected it, just a mistake in filing,” he said. “We’re getting it amended, so that will go away.”
January sales tax receipts were also amended slightly from the initial report, coming in at a 1.7 percent increase over January 2017, instead of 1.4 percent as first reported.
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