Holiday spending increases

LIHUE — Kukui Grove Center enjoyed the holidays with sales increases in the double digits, according to Wade Lord, Kukui Grove general manager.

“Sales at the Kukui Grove Center this Christmas were the best we’ve seen in a long time,” Lord said Tuesday. “Anchor stores reported sales increases averaging 35 percent over last year. Some of our smaller apparel stores saw increases upwards of 60 percent from last year, and restaurants noticed a 35 percent increase.”

This compares to the overall spending which increased 7.9 percent from a year ago, according to the MasterCard Spending Pulse report, which tracks retail sales across cards, cash and checks from Black Friday to Christmas Eve.

The SpendingPulse report is based on sales activity on the MasterCard payments network, along with estimates for cash and check spending based on surveys.

This uptick was driven by people sitting in the comfort of their homes, as online shopping was up 20 percent, according to a report from The Associated Press. Shopping at physical stores still accounts for the majority of spending during the holidays, the AP said.

“The support for our annual Kauai Christmas Parade, Santa’s Village and the first Holiday Light Show Spectacular was amazing,” Lord said. “We are grateful for the positive community response, and we hope that everyone enjoyed the holiday festivities.”

Online shopping is forcing retailers to improve their websites, or offer perks such as faster, or free delivery service, the AP said. Earlier in the month, a report by First Data found that online sales growth was outpacing sales growth at physical stores based on payments from Oct. 31 to Dec. 14.

“We went to great lengths to bring the light show in from the Mainland,” Lord said. “We have grand plans to make next year’s holiday season even more spectacular.”

Although the SpendingPulse report and the Kukui Grove initial reports following the Christmas weekend does not include spending by dollar amounts, the National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, expect national sales for November and December to rise 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion from a year ago.

According to AP, furniture sales rose in double-digit percentages, indicating that people are willing and able to spend on big-ticket items.

Sales of women’s clothing also rose, as indicated by some stores at Kukui Grove enjoying double-digit sales the day after Christmas. Men’s apparel declined, and the report noted that warm weather during the fall pushed back sales of clothing leading to some demand during the holiday shopping period. This was indicated by retailers such as Macy’s saying the unseasonably warm temperatures would force it to slash prices on items like coats and boots during the holidays.

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