Stellar summer for Breckenridge, Summit County in sales
Summit Daily News
An economic recovery may well be under way locally if this summer’s sales tax numbers in Breckenridge and the county are any indication.
Both saw strong surges in sales tax collections in June and July over previous years, particularly in the restaurant and short-term lodging industries, which had their best July ever in Breckenridge this year.
Together, Breckenridge’s restaurant, retail and lodging industries grew sales 14.4 percent from July 2010, and June sales were up 4.4 percent from the same month last year. Year-to-date, the restaurant, retail and lodging industries are looking at 4 percent growth over last year. Sales tax collections by mid-summer were better than in 2006, though they were not yet on par with 2007 or 2008 numbers.
Breck’s biggest successes in sales were in the restaurant/bar and short-term lodging industries. Restaurants and bars posted a 9 percent increase in sales in June 2011 from June 2010. July was up 11 percent from the same month last year, making it the best July ever for the industry. The short-term lodging industry saw even bigger gains, with June up 26 percent and July up 31 percent over last year.
The retail industry in Breck, which got off to a slow start this year and suffered a dismal May and June, made strong gains in July, with sales tax collections up 4.5 percent from the prior year.
County sales tax collections in June were up almost 18 percent, nearly $29,000, from the same month last year, while July sales came in above July 2010 by 5 percent, more than $12,000.
The increases in sales tax revenue came as Breckenridge increased marketing efforts with funding from a voter-approved increase in the accommodations tax and as Breckenridge Ski Resort launched new features such as the Gold Runner Coaster and pony rides at the fun park. However, it is unclear whether either was a factor in improving sales this summer.
“It was a strong month all around,” Breck spokeswoman Kim Dykstra-DiLallo said of July. “It’s probably a variety of things, the increase in marketing dollars, consumer confidence seems to be up a bit. We’ve had some increase in marketing efforts, so I think that had something to do with that, but not all (the industries that were up in sales taxes) are tourist-related so it feels to me it’s a little bit of both business being up and an increase in marketing efforts.”
Pleasant, mild weather in Summit County as much of the country experienced heat spells may also have contributed to the upswing in business, Breckenridge Resort Chamber reps said.
“Weather was big,” BRC spokeswoman Rachel Zerowin said. “July weather was really hot in a lot of our key summer markets. From the marketing side of things, July events have been seeing pretty significant traction.”
And, for Breckenridge at least, the good news might continue. Occupancy, likely benefiting at least in part from the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Stage 5 finish in town, was up 21 percent in August from last year and September is pacing almost 30 percent ahead of the same time in 2010. Occupancy levels in Breckenridge are expected to exceed 70 percent this Saturday for Oktoberfest.
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