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Retailers Register Positive Easter Sales

Increased traffic, spending, & consumer confidence point to economic recovery


April 11, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Local discount retailers have registered increased sales in 2002 and report that stores were full during Easter, which may signal the beginning of the economic recovery forecasted by stateside analysts.

"Throughout the first quarter and the Easter holidays, I have observed significant increases in traffic and consumer confidence. Easter weekend was great for sales. In general terms, I can say that things are looking very positive," said Federico Gonzalez, corporate affairs director for Wal-Mart.

And Gonzalez expects the good times to keep on rolling during the upcoming months.

"I’m very optimistic about the future. As long as we have an ample variety of products that are in demand, sales are going to continue increasing," he said.

Marshall’s Corporate Affairs Director Angelo Mercado had a similar opinion. "We have seen a lot of traffic, and this has been the case all year. I see cash registers full of people, which means consumers are spending. The key is to offer products consumers want. The fact that our clients know what’s in demand helps us and so do our competitive prices."

The local trend appears to be in line with activity on the U.S. mainland, where consumer confidence was up in March.

Based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index climbed to 110.2 (1985=100), up from 95 in February. NFO WorldGroup, a member of The Interpublic Group of Companies, conducts the monthly survey.

Meanwhile, a recent "Economic & Consumer Insights for Marketing Executives" study conducted by BIGresearch found that U.S. consumer confidence rose 2% in March 61.1%, reverting a four-month decline.

Although uncertainty and anxiety towards the behavior of the economy are still prevalent, the study revealed that purchase intentions are up in categories such as men and women’s casual clothing, dining out, sporting goods, home improvement supplies, lawn & garden (seasonal), furniture, and decorative home furnishings.

Areas maintaining steady purchase intentions include computers, housing, stereo equipment, television units, DVDs/VCRs, and vacation travel.

Home appliances and home refinance have dropped for the third month in a row.

Other specific findings include:

    * 51.6% of consumers in the U.S. believe the economy will get back to normal within next 12 months, up from 42.7% in February

    * women continue to be more pessimistic than men regarding consumer confidence—55.8% vs. 66.6%, respectively

    * 71% of consumers say brands or familiar labels aren’t important to them

    * only 7.2% say newest trends and styles are important

    * 69% say fashion is less important than value and comfort

    * 79.4% say they usually or only buy clothing when it’s on sale.

Ohio-based BIGresearch specializes in online market intelligence and Internet powered marketing research.

CARIBBEAN BUSINESS reporter Hector Berrios contributed to this article.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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