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Department Stores In Puerto Rico Expect Strong Mother’s Day Sales

Island Continues To Be The Best Market For Some Chains


March 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Executives from Marshalls, Sears, and JC Penney are expecting Mother’s Day sales to meet or beat those registered last year. They also said that Puerto Rico is still retail heaven for their companies and that the year should go smoothly. Generally speaking, they say the local department store segment is alive and kicking, even with megaretailers Wal-Mart and Costco expanding.

"Our Mother’s Day sales are expected to be much stronger than last year’s," said Cathy Martinez, public relations & marketing director for JC Penney in Puerto Rico. In fact, she noted that the stores are already seeing a single-digit increase in sales over last year. "We have been getting ready for Mother’s Day since right after the Christmas holidays ended," said Martinez. "Mother’s Day week is among our top five weeks in sales."

Martinez added that because the company is expecting an increase in sales, the store has ordered more merchandise than it did last year. "In the apparel section, we are introducing new lines such as Bisou Bisou and Clio and are expanding our private brand called Mix It," she said. "This will definitely help our sales increase." She added that a larger assortment in every section of the department store is boosting sales in comparison with last year. The Plaza Las Americas location is JC Penney’s No.1 store, according to Martinez.

Local Sears executives agreed with Martinez. "We are optimistic about Mother’s Day, especially in Puerto Rico. The apparel and cosmetic areas do well here on the island, better even than stateside," said Garry Salvatore, president of Sears’ local operations. He added that he expects sales for the year to improve over last year’s and that Puerto Rico is among the company’s top markets.

"This year will be business as usual for Marshalls," said Corporate Affairs Director Angelo Mercado. "It will be a healthy year for all department stores in Puerto Rico, even for those that are locally owned, such as Capri, which is well known by consumers all over the island." He added that Marshalls’ store in Montehiedra has reached the No. 1 one spot in sales companywide, including stateside stores.

JC Penney’s Martinez predicts that department stores will continue to do well on the island. "Department stores will never do as well as they did 10 years ago, but only because there is more competition," she said. "Every company wants to come to Puerto Rico because they know this is a great market."

Both Martinez and Mercado said that the overall drop in department store sales both locally and stateside isn’t entirely due to consumers visiting discount megaretailers such as Wal-Mart and Costco. "Our core business is quality apparel, whereas discounters focus more on home appliances, hygiene products, and other such things," said Martinez. "Because of this, I wouldn’t say they’re taking away customers."

Mercado said Puerto Rico consumers’ habits contribute to the stores’ continued success in a weak economy. "Department stores usually have their own credit cards, which are popular with local consumers," he said. "Consumers who don’t have cash will use their store-issued credit cards."

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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