Summit towns trending ahead as they enter best time of year for sales |

Summit towns trending ahead as they enter best time of year for sales

Parking is at a premium Friday at the Outlets at Silverthorne. The outlet mall’s marketing director, Anthony Benz, said traffic was up 6.5 percent compared to Thanksgiving last year for the outlets' Thursday night moonlight sale this year. That's good news for Silverthorne, which gets about one-fifth of its sales tax receipts from the outlet mall, and for local retailers, as Summit County enters what’s typically the best time of the year for the local economy with towns in the county already tracking ahead of last year’s sales tax receipts.
Eli Pace / |

Summit County is entering what’s typically the strongest part of the year for the local economy after tracking ahead of last year’s sales tax collections throughout most of 2017, according to the most recent figures available.

With the opening of its ski resorts, Summit County usually sees a significant uptick in sales tax collections in November, compared to the months that precede it. Then comes the blockbuster month of December, which is generally one of the strongest months of the year, if not the strongest, for local retailers.

Robust sales usually continue throughout the ski season before trailing off in May, which is often the slowest month of the year for local sales.

Last December alone, for example, Breckenridge finance officials reported more than $79.7 million worth of taxable sales for the town. That more than doubled the figures from the months of April, May, June, August, September, October and November 2016.

Aside from March 2016, which posted $79.6 million worth of total taxable sales, no other month of the year was within $13 million of December 2016’s totals in Breckenridge.

Frisco also saw a wild December last year with more than $945,000 in local sales tax receipts, making it by far the best month of the year for that town, too. March was the second-best month of 2016 for Frisco with $862,000 in sales tax receipts.

For Dillon, Christmastime last year was a little slower than it was for other Summit County towns, with March 2016 actually surpassing December’s collections, but not by much.

In Silverthorne December was second-to-none there too with almost $1.2 million in sales tax receipts while June and September 2016 both eclipsed the $1 million mark.

Heightened sale tax receipts in Summit County typically continue through March.

Black Friday at the summit

It’s too early to say exactly how each town did on Black Friday this year — when many retailers across the country go from the red into the black — but the largest retail centers in Summit County seemed to have strong traffic throughout the holiday into Friday.

The Target store in Silverthorne opened at 6 p.m. Thursday with a crowd in the hundreds waiting in line along the side of the building for some of the blockbuster deals, including a $199 PlayStation 4, which sold out shortly after the doors opened.

On Friday morning, Walmart in Frisco was busy too, and the Outlets at Silverthorne had a full parking lot Thursday night and Friday morning.

“It’s slammed busy right now,” said Anthony Benz, the outlet mall’s marketing director. “We’ve had people parking in some of the most precarious positions I’ve ever seen.”

Benz said Thursday night’s traffic was 6.5 percent more than it was last Thanksgiving. The outlets, which account for roughly one-fifth of Silverthorne’s total sales tax collections, opened at 8 p.m. Thursday, Benz said, adding that the outlets’ holiday specials will continue today with prize giveaways, including some vouchers for goodie bags put together by the Silverthorne Rec Center in addition to some season passes for the Lake Dillon Theatre Company.

“I haven’t seen a crowd like what we had this morning in a long time,” Benz said of Friday’s traffic.

September’s receipts

According to the most recent month for which the figures are available, September brought mixed results for Frisco with some sectors showing growth in their sales tax receipts and others receding. However, the town remains ahead in both overall year-to-date sales tax collections and compared to September 2016.

Frisco’s restaurants had a nice bump, coming in 2.2 percent ahead of September 2016 after lagging 4 to 6 percent behind in August and July, compared to the same months last year.

Overall, restaurants in Frisco accounted for $128,000 in sales tax receipts in September and are up 1.8 percent year to date.

Hotels and inns saw a modest 1.4 percent jump in September, but vacation rentals were a whopping 45.6 percent ahead of where they were in September 2016.

So far this year, vacation rentals are 24.6 percent ahead year-to-date with double-digit month-over-month gains in February, March, May, June, July, August and now September.

Overall, vacation rentals are less than 10 percent away from eclipsing last year’s total January through December with October and what are typically two of the best months of the year for local sales tax collections remaining in 2017.

After posting two straight months of losses in July and August compared to the same months in 2016, Frisco’s pot shops were back in the black in September, posting a 7.3 percent increase over reported sales in September 2016. Year-to-date pot sales are up almost 8.7 percent in Frisco.

At the same time that general retail was up almost 10 percent in September in Frisco, grocery (-17.3 percent) automotive (-11.2 percent), arts and crafts (-46 percent), gifts (-12.1 percent), health and beauty (-11.3 percent), recreation (-4 percent), utility (-31.7 percent) were down compared to September 2016.

Still, Frisco more than made up the difference in other sectors, and the town was up 3.2 percent over August 2016 and is tracking 5.5 percent ahead year-to-date.

In Dillon, the town is up 3.7 percent year-to-date, putting the town the farthest ahead it’s been so far this year.

In August, Dillon saw a 19 percent spike compared to August 2016, and September was the second-best month so far for the town, coming in 12.6 percent above what was collected in September 2016.

Dillon had been lagging behind 2016’s totals through June before getting back into the black in June. Since then, the percentage that Dillon’s ahead has increased from 2.3 percent to 3.7 percent.

For Breckenridge, the town saw a 2.2 percent increase in September compared to the same month in 2016 and is almost 3 percent ahead year-to-date.

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