VALLEY — In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic which started just over a year ago, the San Luis Valley saw an increase of over $105 million in retail sales in 2020 over the previous year.
Those figures were released Thursday by the San Luis Valley Development Resources Group (DRG) based on sales tax reports from the Colorado Department of Revenue, showing $1.3 billion in total retail spending in 2020 compared to $1.2 billion in 2019. Sales in 2018 were $57 million less than 2019 but were $147 million better than 2017 which showed a $43 million drop from 2016.
The decline in 2018 retail sales is largely attributed to the Spring Creek Fire which shut down access to the SLV from the east for several weeks. The cause of the five-year low in 2017 of $991 million has not been determined.
County-by-county, Conejos actually showed the largest percentage of increase from 2020 to 2019, up by $39.6 million with $133 million in retail sales in 2020 compared to $93.5 million in 2019.
Alamosa County was up $29 million, $579 million in 2020 and $550 million in 2019, while Costilla was up $19 million, $69.5 million to $50.6 in 2019. Rio Grande saw an increase of $13.4 million ($337 million to $324) and Mineral County increased $4.6 million ($55.4 million to $50.7 in 2019).
Saguache County was the only SLV county showing a decrease from 2019 to 2020, down $637,000 with $126 million in retail sales in 2020.
Month by month, the San Luis Valley saw its’ highest 2020 retail sales in December ($154 million), September ($123 million), June ($121 million) and July ($120 million).
Retail sales determined by sales tax data by county and city-by-city can be found at: https://cdor.colorado.gov/retail-sales-reports.
A statistical profile recently completed by the SLV DRG can be viewed and downloaded at: www.slvdrg.org.