Despite some economic setbacks in recent months, island retailers are expecting a strong holiday shopping season – which traditionally starts today, Black Friday.
Many of the retailers also expect their holiday sales to be bolstered by a mix of local customers and tourists.
According to Pauline Yanson, promotions coordinator at the Agana Shopping Center, throughout the years, the shopping center has consistently received more traffic from tourists and local customers during the holiday season.
With Agana Shopping Center’s inclusion last year in the shuttle program that connects the island’s largest shopping centers, it has seen more tourists patronizing its food establishments and retail stores. Aside from this program, Yanson said the concerted efforts of the tenants to give discounts and other incentives to customers also helps boost sales.
The Micronesia Mall management also sees a favorable outlook for the holidays.
“The mood of our store owners and shoppers is very positive for the holiday shopping season. I expect that you will see the best savings and special buys of the year from our stores, especially our anchor tenants that traditionally feature deep discounts, loss leaders and holiday excitement for all,” said Phillip Schrage, senior vice president of group operations at Micronesia Mall.
This month, Guam Department of Labor Chief Economist Gary Hiles told The Guam Daily Post that “Guam residents’ spending will be the major factor in the 2017 Christmas retail spending on Guam” and that “tourist spending will also be very important.”
Diverse customer base
Some small retail businesses agree that the customer profile this holiday season will be more diverse.
Korben Morales, sales associate at Flip Flop Shops, said, “We have a mix of tourist and local customers, maybe 50-50. We are on an island – they are going to need slippers for the beach; this is something you need when you are living on Guam. Tourists like the different styles.” Morales said she observed a decrease in off-island customers during the past few months but believes numbers have been rising lately.
Amanda Bruschi, owner of Tropical T-Shirts, said that while her T-shirt company has seen a decrease in sales and tourist traffic, there have been more military customers patronizing her store. “Usually our Black Friday sales are very strong, but we will have to see,” she said.
Neil Mariano, manager of the Micropac store in the Micronesia Mall, said, “We have a lot of local customers for Black Friday. We are trying to start early since I know it is hard for people to shop on that day only.” Micropac will have a pre-Black Friday and also a Thanksgiving sale, according to Mariano.
John Ignacio, cashier at MacTech, said their specialty store gets a moderate amount of sales from tourists. “It is more local here,” he said at the store’s Hagatña location.
Retailers have been busy preparing for the holiday rush. As in previous years, activities were planned to drum up support from customers.
According to Schrage, the Micronesia Mall will have giveaways and free entertainment from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. today.
“Starting at 8 a.m., 100 Foot Locker gift cards will be given away free in the center court, and again at 11 a.m., another 100 gift cards. Also starting at 8 a.m., the award-winning holiday lights and snow shows will be presented at the top of each hour. The SuperTrain will leave the station on time at 8 a.m. and until 1 p.m., everyone rides free,” he said. “Gift-wrapping services are available throughout the mall and this year we have increased our surface parking by constructing an additional parking lot adjacent to Macy’s Men’s Store entrance,” Schrage added.
Yanson described the Agana Shopping Center’s lineup for today. “We are having discounts as big as 75 percent off. We will also have lots of programs and events (today). Not only will the shoppers enjoy the sales, we will also have a Christmas countdown here. … We are going to light up our big Christmas tree.”
According to Yanson, there will be several kick-off events at the Agana Shopping Center, including The Salvation Army campaign and the SM Island Store Care Bears program.
According to Hiles, retail trade spending among Guam residents total just over $1 billion a year – 13 percent of all sales receipts in the economy – with tourist retail trade spending accounting for half of the amount, as explained in the 2012 Economic Census of Guam; the 6.5 percent of tourist retail trade spending amounts to just over $500 million.
Based on expansion in revenues and resident employment over the year, Hiles said it is likely that Guam’s holiday sales could be very similar to last year’s or even a bit better, especially if tourist arrivals rebound to last year’s figures.
Source: Google News : https://www.postguam.com/news/local/retailers-optimistic-of-holiday-shopping/article_e1bfc60c-cb72-11e7-84c3-b3a566ca8cd1.html