Outlets at Silverthorne losing revenue as customers migrate to online retail

Pictured on Thursday, Oct. 31, the Outlets at Silverthorne are showing declining revenue in 2019.
Liz Copan /

SILVERTHORNE — The Outlets at Silverthorne, a defining feature of the town, are showing major dips in sales. In August, sales tax revenue generated from the outlets decreased by 9% compared to August of 2018 and by 7.8% for August year-to-date. The overall decrease in sales tax revenue from the outlets for 2019 so far is over $127,000.

“I think it’s probably a brick-and-mortar thing, people are doing more online shopping,” Jackie Balyeat, revenue administrator for the town of Silverthorne said. “I’m just not sure that people are not necessarily shopping in stores so I’m sure that that has impacted them.”

The outlet mall’s sales tax revenue has been steadily declining since 2008 with revenue totaling $2,806,060 by the end of 2008, and finishing 2018 with a total of $2,374,728 despite store additions.

A caveat to these numbers is that they only show brick-and-mortar sales, which are nationally declining while online sales soar. The online sales that these stores do sell to Silverthorne addresses, which mainly come from headquarters rather than the individual stores in Silverthorne, are lumped into the town’s online retail tax numbers rather than included in the outlet’s numbers. 

The major decline shown in revenue for the outlets is based solely from brick-and-mortar sales, while online retail tax revenue continues to increase. The increase in online retail sales tax revenue for August is 242%. 

In June, online retail sales jumped 792.32% compared to June 2018. However, the main contributor to these large increases is a change in the law which allows online retailers to charge state sales tax. Nevertheless, there are clearly people in Silverthorne shopping online based on these numbers.

Despite the steady decline in sales tax revenue from the outlet mall, the sales tax revenue generated from online sales is a much more substantial increase compared to last year.

Balyeat said that while the decline has been fairly consistent over the last few months, the new restaurant opening on Nov. 7 within the outlet mall, Timberline Craft Kitchen & Cocktails, may help boost outlet revenue. 

“It will be interesting when they go to rebuild that green section of the outlets,” Balyeat said in reference to the current vacant lot at the outlets. “I think that will bump that number back up.”

A breakdown of the numbers shows that the green village section of the outlets is down in revenue at a higher percentage than the other two sections, 11.05% for August 2019. However, the blue village section is down the most in total revenue for year-to-date at $128,697. 

The outlet mall may combat these dips with a few of their upcoming events, as the events feature promotions and drive traffic to the mall. Participating stores in the outlets will have a pre-holiday sale that is scheduled for Nov. 1–24. The mall is also hosting their 14th annual Shopping Extravaganza on Nov. 9, which is expected to draw over a thousand attendees.

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