Glenwood Springs retail sales end year up 1.7 percent |

Glenwood Springs retail sales end year up 1.7 percent

John Stroud
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Heather McGregor Post IndependentThese are yearly sales tax revenue totals for the city of Glenwood Springs from selected sectors of the economy, for 2007 through 2011. Data provided by the Glenwood Springs Finance Department.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – City of Glenwood Springs retail sales for 2011 came in 1.7 percent ahead of the previous year, including a 3.4 percent increase for general merchandise, according to the city’s preliminary year-end sales tax report released this week.

City sales tax totals for 2011 came in at $13.3 million, up from about $13.1 million the prior year. However, last year’s total was down from the nearly $13.6 million in sales taxes collected in 2009, the report shows.

A few sales tax returns are yet to be filed with the city, so the numbers could change slightly, said Glenwood Springs Finance Director Michael Harman.

The city had 11 straight months of sales tax gains in 2011, based on year-over-year comparisons. January 2011 was the only month in which sales taxes were down compared to the previous year, off 3.9 percent compared to January 2010.

The largest single-month gain came in June, when sales taxes were up 5 percent over the same month in 2010.

Still, the numbers remain well below the city’s highest sales tax years of 2007 and 2008. More than $16.3 million in sales tax dollars came into city coffers during each of those years.

Before sales tax revenues started to rebound in 2011, the city suffered 32 straight months of declines dating back to mid-2008 when the national recession took hold.

The year-end report also includes a sector break-down for retail sales.

Numbers were up in 2011 in seven out of the 14 categories indicated, including the largest single category of general merchandise.

In that category, sales taxes for 2011 came in at $2.97 million, reflecting an increase over both 2009 and 2010.

Glenwood Springs saw a record high in the general merchandise category of $3.5 million in 2007, around the time the Glenwood Meadows shopping center development was completed.

Category gains were also seen in grocery stores (3.4 percent), automotive and service stations (5 percent), restaurants and bars (7.1 percent), and miscellaneous retail (2.6 percent).

The largest single sector gain was in lodging, which ended 2011 up nearly 8.5 percent. That same percentage increase was also reflected in the city’s accommodations (lodging tax) collections for the year.

One of the larger retail sectors that continues to lag behind, however, is building materials and supplies. Sales taxes in that category came in at roughly $1.18 million, down 2.5 percent from 2010. Prior to the recession, the building materials sector was the second-largest driver in the local retail economy.

Those numbers reflect the overall decline in the construction industry, not only in Glenwood Springs but throughout Garfield County and the Roaring Fork Valley.

Another sector in which the sale tax numbers were down significantly last year was apparel and accessories. Sales in that category were off 7.8 percent compared to 2010.

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