Sales tax reflects local business trends

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Retailers say the first half of this year has been slow.

Sales tax revenues have been low for the past six months, and the city of Grand Junction budget has been behind in budgeted projections, but it isn't just city officials feeling the effect.

“They are down as far as the summer months, I know June has been a little bit better than the last 5 months, but still not great," Girlfiends owner Jennie Mason.

Mason says fewer of those “girlfriends” have been coming in during the first part of the year, and her cash register isn't the only one that hasn't been ringing. Coffers in the city are lower than officials predicted they would be.

"We have been down in sales tax revenues from last year, which is actually surprising because we actually budgeted and projected a little bit of growth," Grand Junction city financial operations manager Jodi Romero said.

Even while 2013 June's sales tax report showed a 1.7 percent increase from 2012, overall the trend is a decrease in sales tax revenue. Financial officials say they're expecting to see an increase as we go through the year, however, and that's something the fishermen at Western Anglers are starting to see.

“For us it has been really good, we have had great sales over the last two months, we were struggling like everyone else, we think it's from the good water we've had this year bringing people in," Western Angler owner Phil Trimm said.

Whether it's warmer weather bringing local foot traffic or an increase in tourists is helping to keep that trend alive, some retailers say the best bet is to offer up shopping opportunities 24 hours a day.

"The fast growing channel is and has been for years is the internet, so online sales is just a very good channel, because people can buy your products whenever it is convenient for them," Enstrom Candies president Doug Simons said.

The next quarterly report comes out in August, and that will reflect summer retail sales numbers.

It will also break the city into different zones and retail categories, helping paint a new picture of exactly who and what is prospering in Grand Junction.

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