Glenwood retail sales up over 7% through October |

Glenwood retail sales up over 7% through October

The city of Glenwood Springs is banking on a strong holiday shopping season to stay ahead of sales tax projections for the year.

Retail sales in Glenwood increased 3.5 percent from a year before for October, according to the city’s latest sales tax figures released this week. While still on the plus side, it was the smallest percent increase in the year-over-year monthly comparison so far this year.

Previous months have come in anywhere between 4.2 percent ahead of 2014 figures for September to 12.2 percent in January.

Still, through 10 months, Glenwood Springs retail sales are running about 7.4 percent ahead of last year, according to the October sales tax report.

That’s good news in terms of the city’s projected 5 percent increase in sales taxes for budget purposes this year, Glenwood Finance Director Charles Kelty said.

“We are hoping to stay at about 7 percent by year end,” he said. “But that will depend on the holiday season.”

December is typically the largest single month in terms of retail sales in Glenwood Springs, even more so than the busy tourist months of June, July and August.

Last year, the city collected $1.7 million in sales taxes for December on $46 million in retail sales. By comparison, October of this year brought in a little over $1.3 million in taxes on about $35.6 million in sales.

Through 10 months this year, roughly $369 million in retail sales were reported to the city, resulting in nearly $13.6 million in sales taxes collected so far.

One store manager at the Glenwood Meadows shopping center, where most of the city retail sales are concentrated, said the holiday shopping season so far has been brisk.

“It’s been pretty busy the last couple of weeks,” said Stephanie Rowland, manager at Sports Authority. “I would say we are doing about the same as last year.”

Hotels and motels experienced their usual seasonal slowdown in October, but collections from the city’s special 2.5 percent accommodations tax were still up 8.8 percent for the month compared with October 2014. Year to date, lodging tax collections are up over 10.5 percent, indicating a strong year for tourism.

Sales tax collections by category indicate general merchandise sales, including the major big-box retailers, are up 2.17 percent for the year. Sales are up significantly compared with last year for building materials and supplies (12.7 percent), automobile sales and parts (12.7 percent), restaurants and bars (10.2 percent).

Taxable food store sales are also up 5.3 percent and the smaller apparel and accessories category is up 4.6 percent.

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