Sales activity rebounded after bridge opening
Opening of the new Grand Avenue bridge in early November after an 85-day shutdown and Colorado 82 detour during construction seemed to trigger a business boost that was reflected in Glenwood Springs sales tax numbers for the month.
Following three straight months of declines anywhere from 6.5 percent to nearly 10 percent in monthly sales taxes for August through October, sales figures were nearly the same in November 2017 as they were during the same month the prior year.
The city recorded just a 0.2 percent drop in retail sales activity for November compared to November 2016.
During the detour period, which began on Aug. 14 of last year, some retail sectors were off by more than 10 percent, and several individual businesses reported that sales were down as much as 40 to 50 percent.
The new bridge opened and the detour was lifted the evening of Nov. 6, more than 10 days ahead of schedule.
For the year to date through 11 months, sales taxes were still running 1.7 percent behind 2016. That, with one of the city’s traditionally bigger spending months, December and the holiday shopping season, still to come.
Final sales tax figures for 2017 will be reported in the December and year-end sales tax report, due out the latter part of February.
For November, the city did see a turn-around in several key retail and business categories.
Collections for the special 2.5 percent accommodations tax on overnight stays in the city were up slightly, 0.26 percent, for the 11th month. That brought the cumulative increase for the lodging sector to 2.5 percent on the year, compared to 2016.
Glenwood Springs saw a slight increase in spending at restaurants and bars during November, which were up 0.5 percent. Sales taxes on apparel and accessories were also up nearly 2 percent, and taxes on automobile sales, servicing and parts was up a whopping 23.7 percent.
The miscellaneous retail category, which takes in a lot of the downtown businesses that were most directly impacted by the bridge detour and construction, was up nearly 3.9 percent for November.
Still running behind 2016 numbers for the month, however, were general merchandise, down 7.5 percent; building materials and supplies, down 7.9 percent; food stores, down 7.9 percent; and furniture sales, down 9.5 percent.