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ARCHIVED  July 1, 1997

Population boosts retail sales growth

Stable population growth and a strong economy, both nationally and throughout Northern Colorado, are fueling a level of consumer demand that is boosting Colorado’s retail sales and resulting sales-tax revenues steadily upward.

Increased sales-tax revenues result from a continued strength in retail sales throughout Colorado, especially Northern Colorado.

“Retail sales figures over the long term have indicated strong growth,” confirmed Lyle Butler, president of the Greeley/Weld Chamber of Commerce. “In Weld and Larimer counties, retail sales have averaged annual increases of between 7 and 18 percent annually for the past 10 years. Growth has been very good.”

Butler attributed the strength in retail sales and sales-tax revenues to the much publicized boom in Northern Colorado’s Front Range communities.

“There has been a lot of increase in primary-sector jobs created by existing and expanding companies in Northern Colorado,” he explained.

The arrival of new residents into newly created, high-paying jobs in a high-growth area creates consumer demand for those goods and services associated with taking up residence in a new area and taking advantage of new employment and leisure opportunities.

Consumer needs and the prevailing level of optimism about the local economy are of particular benefit to certain sectors of the local economy, creating strong employment gains.

“Manufacturing and the service sectors are the chief beneficiaries in growing economies,” Butler said. “In Northern Colorado, construction is benefitting greatly.”

Permits for the construction of new homes are at their highest consistent level in years. One housing-industry trade publication rates Northern Colorado in its top 20 “hottest housing” markets.

The strength of the local employment market is also mirrored in a cooling off of interest in entrepreneurial ventures, traditionally an area where high growth is usually a reflection of a faltering wage-based job market.

“The early 1990s were a time of unusually high growth for small business,´ said Phillip Auth, manager of business services for the Colorado Small Business Development Center. “Things now seem to have stabilized.”

Predictive indices for continued growth in retail sales are optimistic. The nation’s good economic health is expected to generate an additional 4.3 percent increase in sales-tax revenues through the third quarter of 1998. Northern Colorado forecasts a somewhat higher 5.4 percent leap for the same period.

An employee for one Fort Collins retailer put it this way: “Every month seems like the holiday season right now.”

Stable population growth and a strong economy, both nationally and throughout Northern Colorado, are fueling a level of consumer demand that is boosting Colorado’s retail sales and resulting sales-tax revenues steadily upward.

Increased sales-tax revenues result from a continued strength in retail sales throughout Colorado, especially Northern Colorado.

“Retail sales figures over the long term have indicated strong growth,” confirmed Lyle Butler, president of the Greeley/Weld Chamber of Commerce. “In Weld and Larimer counties, retail sales have averaged annual increases of between 7 and 18 percent annually for the past 10 years. Growth has been very good.”

Butler attributed the strength in retail…

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