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Retailers Are Enjoying Christmas

Season’s sales seem to be better locally than stateside


December 23, 2004
Copyright © 2004 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

It seems Puerto Rico’s consumers are shopping more than their stateside counterparts this Christmas, judging from what traffic retailers and shopping mall executives are observing. One thing they are certain of: holiday sales this year will beat those of last Christmas.

Nevertheless, the new year could start off slowly as uncertainty about who will be Puerto Rico’s next governor looms.

Marissa Jacobs, Claire’s Stores vice president of corporate communications, told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS that Puerto Rico is "a great market that does very well. Our customers there love our merchandise and sales have been great not just now [during the holidays], but year-round." The company focuses on accessories for girls and women and operates 19 Claire’s and three Icing stores locally.

Hector Acevedo, regional manager for Game Stop, a video game and DVD retailer, explained that video games are a hot category this Christmas and Game Stop’s comparable-store sales definitely will be higher than those of 2003. The company recently opened its 15th local store.

Valerie Castro, marketing manager of Plaza del Sol, said sales at her shopping mall have enjoyed double-digit increases since October, pointing to a very successful Christmas season. Ilsa Vidal, leasing director for Commercial Properties Development, is also upbeat. "One of our anchor stores doubled its sales from October ‘03 to October ‘04. Our tenants are having their best sales since 9/11," she said.

Wal-Mart’s Corporate Affairs

Director Frances Rios said sales at the megaretailer are good, but not living up to expectations. Still, they seem better than stateside, where its disappointing November sales made headlines. "Sales in Puerto Rico have been good, but they could have been better," she said.

Rios attributed this to a drop in consumer confidence resulting from the uncertainty about who will end up in the governor’s seat. Some sources in the political arena have pointed out that this decision could take months.

The real outcome of retail sales during Christmas won’t be known until early next year, when the local government and retailers have the official figures in their hands.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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