Happy holidays for retailers

  • Bethany Freudenthal / The Garden Island

    Shoppers wait in line at Deja Vu Surf Shop in Kukui Grove Center Tuesday.

  • Bethany Freudenthal / The Garden Island

    Asia Vito and her boyfriend Kobe Nagahisa were out shopping Tuesday. Vito said she was using her Christmas money and gift cards to purchase belated gifts for family members.

LIHUE — Lines protruded almost to the door at Déjà Vu Surf Shop and Game Stop Tuesday, the day after Christmas, while there was an equally long line at Jeans Warehouse, where store manager Stephanie Catiggay said they had a successful and festive holiday season.

“We’re very, very busy,” she said. “Very busy.”

Kukui Grove Center was abuzz Tuesday morning with people eating, talking, and of course, shopping.

Catiggay said Jeans Warehouse always has a successful holiday season, and that success is expected to continue into the New Year.

“Everyone is redeeming their gift cards and spending their Christmas money,” Catiggay said.

As far as returns are going, said Catiggay, knocking on wood, they haven’t seen very many and of those who had returned items, it’s usually been as an exchange, she said.

For one shopper, the day after Christmas wasn’t about herself.

Kauai resident Asia Vito, who was shopping with her boyfriend Kobe Nagahisa, said she received mostly money and gift cards for Christmas this year, but she wasn’t spending them on herself.

“I’m buying mostly late Christmas gifts,” she said.

As far as returns go, Vito said she’ll probably just exchange some clothing she received for the right sizes.

Her boyfriend Nagahisa said he was surprised to have received so much for Christmas this year. He said he received sunglasses and new clothes, but won’t be exchanging anything because he likes everything he got.

“I got a lot more than I expected,” he said.

Local stores were reporting strong holiday sales.

Kmart store manager Anthony Florek said it was a busy Christmas day and on Tuesday, as well.

As far as returns go, Florek said they’ve been light for the past couple of years and this year the store is expecting the same.

Experts have issued rosy forecasts for the season. Shoppers seem to be in the mood as unemployment is at 17-year low and consumer sentiment has reached its highest level since 2000.

Nationwide, shoppers are spending at a pace not seen since the Great Recession, says Craig Johnson, president of retail consulting group Customer Growth Partners.

Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation, predicts retail sales will meet or exceed the trade group’s holiday forecast. That could mark the best performance since 2014. And Tom McGee, CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers, believes mall traffic and sales were higher than last year as shoppers bought electronics, clothing and toys.

First Data, a payment technology firm, puts online sales growth at about double the level at stores. Some analysts have said they expect a large portion of the holiday growth to go toward Amazon, which has been expanding into new areas and putting more kinds of retailers on alert.

Shopper Susan Campbell said she was at Kukui Grove to check out the deals and was looking forward to stopping by a special holiday sale at Macy’s.

“I did some shopping there prior to Christmas,” said Campbell.

Some of her family members were on the Mainland for Christmas, so she was planning a celebration when everyone returns home.

Most of her holiday shopping was finished.

“I’m here for the sales,” she said.

•••

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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