Glenwood’s retail sales climb above 10 percent in March |

Glenwood’s retail sales climb above 10 percent in March

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The new Ross Dress for Less store in the Glenwood Springs Mall and unseasonably warm weather during March combined to give the city of Glenwood Springs its first double-digit increase in sales taxes since the end of 2007.

According to the city’s March sales tax report, released this week, spending on retail goods within Glenwood Springs city limits was up nearly 10.5 percent over the same month last year.

The city collected $1,201,622 in sales taxes during March of this year, compared to $1,087,596 in March 2011.

You’d have to go back to December of 2007 to find Glenwood Springs’ last double-digit increase in the year-over-year monthly comparison of sales taxes.

City sales taxes continued to increase slightly through the first five months of 2008. That was followed by 32 straight months of sales tax decreases before sales started to rebound in February 2011.

Through the first quarter of 2012, retail sales activity in Glenwood Springs was up 7.95 percent, according to the most recent report.

“The opening of Ross in the mall and the warm spring break weather are undoubtedly major contributors to the results,” Glenwood Springs Finance Director Mike Harman said of the March figures.

The city’s accompanying retail sector comparison report would seem to support the Ross theory. The national clothing retailer officially opened for business on March 2 in the mall space formerly occupied by Bealls, also a clothing store.

That likely explains the whopping 41 percent jump in sales for the month in the city’s apparel/accessories category. That segment brought in $101,423 in sales taxes during March, compared to $71,830 for March of 2011.

Other retail sectors showing double-digit increases for March included automotive/service stations (up 20.5 percent); building materials/supplies (12.8 percent); motel/hotel (12.5 percent); furniture/home furnishings (11.4 percent); and transportation/utilities (11 percent).

The largest single category, general merchandise stores, was up 6.4 percent, from $628,048 in March 2011 to $668,322 this past March.

Food store sales were up 5 percent for the month, from $408,551 to $429,359. Eating and drinking establishments saw a 5 percent increase as well, from $379,824 to $399,490.

The other factor driving not only the March figures, but strong sales in January and February as well, was the weather.

According to tourism and recreation observers, although ski areas suffered from a lack of snow this past season, the warmer weather drew more visitors to places like Glenwood Springs for weekend get-aways and over spring break.

That was reflected in the city’s accommodations (lodging) tax numbers for March, and for the year to date. Lodging taxes were up 18 percent, from $52,705 for March of last year to $62,232 for March of this year.

Through the first quarter of 2012, the city’s lodging tax is running 14.8 percent ahead of 2011.

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