Commercial and retail trends reveal Breckenridge is on the up and up, with sales increasing in general from this time last year.
Wolfe & Company Real Estate released a quarterly rundown of the business environment in town, including the fact that Breckenridge has the lowest vacancy rate for retail spaces for the quarter since 2007.
President Jack Wolfe said he has seen a number of businesses come to town this year.
“Looking at a year ago, there’s a lot more optimism now,” he said.
There were 23 vacant retail spaces as of Oct. 2, which is a 23.3 percent reduction — seven spaces — from 2012.
Though Breckenridge occupancy was down 1.2 percent in September compared to 2012, the town’s occupancy pacing for the upcoming six months, October to March, is up 14 percent compared to the same period. That forecast could result in a positive impact on restaurants and retailers this winter season, Wolfe said.
“Lodging is a key component as to how well everyone is doing,” Wolfe said. “The higher the occupancy, that directly contributes to retail and more people here spending money.”
Wolfe said the key to surviving economic downturn in a seasonal location is adaptability. He said the retail sector is almost back to 2007 levels, a benchmark often used because it was the year before the recession.
“That doesn’t mean all businesses are dancing in the street,” he said. “The luxury section was hit the hardest, they have the farthest to go to come back.”
For 2013, all retail sales so far through August are ahead of 2012 by 14 percent. Tax revenues are also ahead of last year by 9.34 percent.
“We’re starting to see restaurants having the best year ever — and we said last year was the best year ever,” Wolfe said.
With decreasing vacancy rates and increasing retail and restaurant sales, Wolfe expects lease rates to continue to edge up, leading to increasing commercial property values in 2014.
“There’s an increasing relationship between retail and restaurant success and things like lease rates, tax revenues,” he said.
Wolfe said with new businesses joining the Breckenridge community and owners seeing success, these numbers bode well for the overall success of business in town.
“Everybody was affected by the downturn and the outcome was everybody had to get smarter,” he said. “We are definitely doing better than three, four years ago and even last year.”