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Retailers Happy With Christmas Season Kickoff

Clothing category doing impressively well


December 12, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Mall executives and retail storeowners interviewed by CARIBBEAN BUSINESS are happy with the traffic and sales results for the first week of the Christmas shopping season. Even though this shopping season has one less week than last year, industry sources expect sales to end the same if not higher than last year, especially in the clothing category, which has been very successful.

"As is typical every year, there were about 200 shoppers waiting for the doors to open the day after Thanksgiving," said Marietta Don-Segarra, vice president of Centro Gran Caribe in Vega Alta.

She added she doesn’t expect the shorter shopping season to adversely affect sales because her mall began its Christmas sale a week earlier than usual. "We started our Christmas sales a week earlier, simultaneously with our 15th anniversary celebration. Since then, the mall has always been full."

Don-Segarra also said that among the best-selling categories this season are women’s clothing, toys, and home accessories. "Capri and a new store also selling home accessories, Grand Store, which opened recently, have experienced excellent sales," she added.

Lorraine Vissepo, communications director of Plaza Las America’s parent company, said the Caribbean’s largest mall had had a similar experience. "Traffic on the day after Thanksgiving was much higher than last year. Plaza’s annual "Shopping Day & Night with American Express" experienced a 35% increase in traffic compared to last year."

Vissepo isn’t worried about the shopping season being cut by a week this year. "It’s just what the International Council of Shopping Centers says: People will spend the same amount of money in fewer days, so I don’t think we’ll be impacted negatively."

Clothing, home accessories, jewelry, and electronics are also top sellers at Plaza Las Americas, according to Vissepo. She added sales in the clothing category are up more than 10% for most retailers compared to last year.

Plaza Carolina Marketing Director Juliana Castillo said that to compensate for the decrease in shopping days this season, her mall began its Christmas activities two weeks before Thanksgiving. "Sales and traffic have been way above normal. Two weekends before Thanksgiving, the mall had an average sales increase of 10%. The next weekend--including Black Friday [retailers’ moniker for the day after Thanksgiving]--saw an increase of 26%."

The best categories, said Castillo, are women’s apparel, electronics, and jewelry. She also said she has noticed there are more special sales this year compared to last year, and this is helping to increase traffic and sales.

Mall tenants’ experience seem to bear out mall executives’ numbers. An informal survey held at one mall showed more than half of its apparel retailers were experiencing double-digit sales increases, with some stores even surpassing the 50% mark.

Michael Silva, president of casual retailer, said he expects sales to be the same as last year despite the shorter shopping period. He also said he expects sales during the week before Christmas to be much better than Black Friday was.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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