Glenwood retail sales off to encouraging start in 2018

Nicole Nelson, owner of Elizabeth Dean Boutique, puts away clothing in her downtown Glenwood shop on Friday afternoon. Retail sales in Glenwood Springs were up nearly 1.5 percent in January, after a rough 2017 made sour by the Grand Avenue bridge construction and detour.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

With the Grand Avenue bridge detour and its related business impacts fading in the rearview mirror, Glenwood Springs started 2018 on the right foot when it came to retail sales in the city.

City finance officials reported sales taxes were up nearly 1.5 percent in January, thanks to strong performance in several key sectors including general merchandise, or “big box” sales, which opened 2018 more than 11.5 percent ahead of the same month last year.

Sales of clothing and accessories were also up more than 31 percent, food sales were up 14.5 percent, and miscellaneous retail, which takes in many of the independently owned downtown shops, was up 14.2 percent, according to the January sales tax report.

Eating out was also a big contributor to the January rebound, as restaurants and bars reported sales receipts were up 4.7 percent over January of last year.

The positive financial news comes close on the heels of one of the roughest years in recent memory in terms of sales activity.

Retail sales were down 1.9 percent in 2017, as businesses took a big hit during the nearly three-month-long Grand Avenue bridge closure and detour from mid-August to early November. Many individual businesses reported that sales were off as much as 40 to 50 percent during that stretch.

According to the January sales tax report, the city collected just over $1.2 million on about $33 million in retail sales across the board, for a 1.46 percent increase over January 2017.

Sales were down during January in some key categories, including building materials and supplies, down 8.9 percent; and automobile sales, parts and servicing, down 15.3 percent for the month.

Sales taxes collected on legal marijuana sales were also down 9.6 percent in January, and taxable business services were off by 10 percent.

Regular sales taxes collected on overnight stays at hotels and motels were also down 9.4 percent. However, the special accommodations tax collected by the city on those stays was up 4.3 percent for the month, according to the January report.

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