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Local Mall Traffic On The Rise

Since Sept. 11, shopping centers hadn’t been as crowded as they were during Veterans Day weekend


November 22, 2001
Copyright © 2001 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Many of those who visited shopping malls during Veterans Day weekend saw them as crowded as they were before Sept. 11.

Also noticing were shopping mall managers, who hailed the resilience of local consumers. Could this mean Christmas sales could turn out better than expected? "Probably" and "We sure hope so" were the responses given by shopping mall executives.

Marietta Don-Segarra, vice president of Vega Alta’s Centro Gran Caribe mall, said that since last week the mall has been "totally full." The mall is celebrating its 14th anniversary, she said, and has already kicked off its Christmas season.

"This is the first mall to welcome the holiday season. Santa Claus even came to the mall riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle," Don-Segarra said, adding that she has seen an increase in mall traffic in the last three weeks.

Centro Gran Caribe is welcoming two new tenants in the next month; Radio Shack–which will occupy more than 2,500 square feet–and Dolar y algo extra–which will establish its largest store here at more than 11,000 square feet.

"Traffic at both malls is definitely increasing, it hasn’t been like this since before September. Judging from the amount of traffic I saw, I can say that we are back to business as usual. I sense a positive environment," said Lorraine Vissepo, director of communications & public relations of Plaza Las Americas and Plaza del Caribe parent company Empresas Fonalledas.

Plaza Las Americas celebrated a shopping event sponsored by American Express last week. "Some tenants told me that by 6 p.m., they had actually surpassed last year’s sales figures," Vissepo said.

New stores have opened recently at Plaza Las Americas and Plaza del Caribe. "At Plaza Las Americas, the opening of Margarita’s restaurant was a success. We also opened a new two-story Banana Republic. At Plaza del Caribe, we opened Runner’s City."

"There were lots of people at the mall this weekend," said Humberto Charneco, president and CEO of Caparra Center Associates, the company that manages San Patricio Plaza. "Parking lots were full. I haven’t seen the mall so full since before the terrorist attacks."

All three executives pointed out that this may be an indicator for positive Christmas sales, but no one knows for sure yet.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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