May brings mixed results for sales in Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne and Dillon |

May brings mixed results for sales in Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne and Dillon

Thin snowpack is shown on June 2, 2018 at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. May was a warm, dry month. The conditions weren’t great for late-season skiers, but Silverthorne and Frisco finance official have attributed the warm weather in May to surges in the towns’ building retail and construction sectors.
Hugh Carey /

May sales taxes in Summit

May vs. May 2017 Year to date

Breckenridge -7.74 percent 8.05 percent

Silverthorne 10.57 percent 8.46 percent

Frisco 9.06 percent 6.65 percent

Dillon -2.84 percent 13.63 percent

Source: Monthly sales tax reports

Typically the slowest month of the year for Summit County retailers, May produced mixed results across the towns’ monthly sales tax reports with Frisco and Silverthorne seeing significant growth over May 2017 while Dillon and Breckenridge weren’t so fortunate.

Breckenridge was down the most of the four towns, seeing sales drop 7.74 percent in May compared to the same month last year.

That’s somewhat misleading though, according to Breckenridge director of finance Brian Waldes, because an audit in May 2017 produced a one-time settlement in the construction sector that caused a ripple effect.

At face value, construction in Breckenridge took a beating in May with sales plunging 49.71 percent compared to May 2017. However, much of that can be attributed to the audit, Waldes said.

Because May’s such a low-volume month for sales, he explained, the one-time payment, which would barely be a blip in stronger months, drug down May’s total. Not counting the audit, he said the month would have been relatively flat or even up a couple percentage points.

“In a low-dollar month like May, a couple million adds up,” Waldes noted, saying that town officials don’t get nearly as worked up over May’s numbers as they do the high-volume months.

Still, restaurants and bars were up 3.76 percent, lodging was up 10.78 percent and grocery and liquor were up 4.96 percent in Breckenridge. Overall the town remains a healthy 8.05 percent ahead of 2017’s sales tax collections year to date.

Frisco builds on May

While Breckenridge was down, Frisco was up 9.06 percent in May, putting the town 6.65 percent ahead year to date.

Leading the way, Frisco’s home improvement sector posted a radical 41.39 percent jump over May 2017 and remains up 40.49 percent year to date.

The wild increase can’t be attributed to any past collections, audit revenue or other outside factors, said Frisco revenue specialist Chad Most, who simply credited the spike to increased activity in the sector.

Explaining the sharp spike, Most theorized mild and dry weather throughout the month of May likely kept local contractors and developers busy and removed from the early season delays they’ve previously experienced.

Growth in Frisco’s restaurant sales has steadily increased in recent years too, and the town’s restaurants logged another banner month with May 2018’s sales 10.03 percent ahead of May 2017. It was the third time this year that Frisco’s restaurants have recorded double-digit growth in a single month, and they remain up 8.92 percent year to date.

Frisco’s general retail (up 12.61 percent) and its grocery stores (up 8.06 percent) also did well in May.

Most said the businesses off Interstate 70’s Exit 203 in Frisco have done well making Frisco “a convenient hub” for dining and grocery shopping, not just for travelers on I-70 but for many living in Summit.

Silverthorne’s solid, too

Like Frisco, Silverthorne saw its sales tax receipts soar to new levels for May, up 10.57 percent this year compared to May 2017. That leaves Silverthorne up 8.46 percent year to date.

If the numbers hold true throughout the remainder of 2018, Silverthorne could see its largest percentage growth in at least five years with the 7.9 percent increase from 2014 to 2015 being the high-water mark.

Helping matters, The Outlets at Silverthorne are up 7.2 percent through the first five months of the year. Consumer retail and auto were both down a couple points in May, but a 21 percent surge in building retail — up 14.14 percent year to date — more than offset those losses.

Silverthorne revenue administrator Kathy Marshall agreed with Most’s assessment that May’s warm and dry weather likely boosted Silverthorne’s building retail sector. She said all of Silverthorne’s building retail stores did well in May, and equipment rentals were quite strong, too.

“I’m hoping that’s a good sign our economy is still doing really well,” Marshall added.

It certainly appears to be. Silverthorne hasn’t had a month-over-month decline since October 2017 and December 2016 before that.

It was coming

After the first month of year, Dillon was up more than 31 percent over January 2017. The town followed that with two more blockbuster months in February and March — each registering over 20 percent growth — before a slight decline came in April. Now that’s carried over into May, as well.

Much of this was to be expected, as that much of the growth was related to the winter’s ice castles and other businesses developments outside of consumer spending patterns. The idea that Dillon could sustain the wild rate of sales tax growth it had through the first three months of 2018 was unfathomable and it appears that things have come back to more reasonable levels.

Still, Dillon leads the way for growth by percentage in Summit County, up a robust 13.63 percent year to date, despite sales slipping 2.84 percent in May.

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