LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Statistics show sales tax revenue from Colorado Mills Mall has been down since May's hailstorm and local stores at the mall say the slow return of major retailers is to blame.
A hailstorm in May ripped through the mall's roof, causing extensive damage. Almost all of the mall was forced to shut down for major repairs.
Colorado Mills Mall reopened at the end of November, but local store owners inside the mall said some major retailers are waiting for repairs to be finalized and the floors to be finished before moving back in.
Barbara Urzua works inside a store at the mall. She said traffic has been slower inside the mall, especially on weekdays, compared to before the hailstorm.
"I think a lot of people don’t know a lot of stores are open," Urzua said. "I feel like it looks scary from the outside because you can see the construction but it’s not that bad, a lot of stores are open and there is a lot going on."
According to figures gathered by the city of Lakewood, from May to October -- when a majority of the mall was closed -- it averaged $152,000 a month in sales tax revenue compared to an average of $564,000 a month during that same stretch in 2016.
After the mall reopened in November, the mall generated $719,370 in December compared to $1,064,013 in December 2016.
Store owners and employees said sales tax revenue is down because of the absence of the major retailers that drive traffic to the mall.
They're confident sales will increase once more retailers reopen.
"I feel like a lot of stores are opening this coming spring and summer and it is going to be back to the way it was," Urzua said.
Store owners said the mall's management has been excellent in communicating with retailers about the status of repairs and the plan moving forward.
A spokesman said the mall did not want to comment on sales tax revenue.