Glenwood’s February sales tax numbers encouraging |

Glenwood’s February sales tax numbers encouraging

Another 9.7 percent increase in Glenwood Springs retail sales for February bodes well for city financial decisions going forward this year, not to mention the broader economy.

First-quarter sales tax numbers are often crucial in determining whether certain municipal projects can proceed, and perhaps more importantly for beginning the process of forecasting for next year, City Manager Jeff Hecksel said.

While March is typically the biggest of the first three months of the year in terms of Glenwood’s retail sales, January and February results this year are “certainly cause for optimism,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean we go out and spend a lot of money that not appropriated,” Hecksel said. “But there is a higher level of comfort if the first quarter numbers are good, which means we are able to do some of the things where appropriations have been made.”

The month-over-month increase for February comes on the heels of a 12.6 percent increase in the January numbers, signaling a promising start to the year for retail sales activity in the city.

Sales were also up 7.4 percent in 2014 over the prior year, and for the year to date so far this year are up 11.2 percent.

That includes increases in all of the major retail categories, from home furnishings and apparel to food stores and restaurants, and the largest category, general merchandise, which is up 4.5 percent through two months, according to the city’s February sales tax report.

Tourism numbers were also up through the winter months, based on the city’s special accommodations (lodging) tax, which was up another 20.5 percent in February.

“Those early numbers do affect how we look at the year going forward, and we have to be really careful if those months are down,” Hecksel said. “So the February report is really great news.”

The continued increase in general merchandise sales, which includes the major retail stores in Glenwood Springs such as Target and Wal-Mart, is particularly encouraging, he said.

“We’ve not seen that number in the positive across multiple months for a very long time, so that to me is a big deal,” Hecksel said.

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