Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023 |
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LIHU‘E — If the traffic at the Big Kmart on Thanksgiving Day is an indication, Black Friday should prove to be a boon for retailers.
“We’ve been busy,” said Jarrett Chytka, the Big Kmart manager. “About an hour since we opened we surpassed our totals from last year.”
Chytka was juggling a clipboard stacked with advertising fliers, helping customers and coordinating breaks for Kmart employees, Thursday, pausing only briefly to see the lines flowing through the checkout aisles.
Another factor for the strong traffic was the arrival of the Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Pride of America cruise ship at Nawiliwili Harbor for its weekly, overnight stay.
Walmart Manager Janie Whitehead said the Lihu‘e store was also enjoying steady traffic and sales on Thanksgiving Day. The store has been opening on Thanksgiving for the past three years.
“I had to come for the arare,” said Shanlee Jimenez, who just Wednesday night was chaperoning her daughters, both track stars for the University of Hawai‘i, at the Walmart store. “You can’t beat the price. Now, I’m checking to see if there is anything else I need.”
Jimenez tended to Thanksgiving Day shopping early, her daughters catching up on sleep in their own beds.
At the Walmart store, the Jimenez ‘ohana browsed through aisles punctuated by stacks of concealed merchandise in anticipation of today’s earlybird specials.
“We won’t be closing,” Whitehead said. “We opened at the usual time, Thanksgiving Day, and we’ll be open all the way through closing hour Friday. The specials will be starting at midnight. We’re just camping out here.”
Whitehead said the in-store McDonald’s restaurant will also be open during this period as well.
“You can’t beat the prices,” said a Big Kmart shopper who requested anonymity, her wagon stacked high with purchases. “A dollar 99 for towels, pillows for $5, no, two for $5. Wow!”
Chytka said Kmart had 7 a.m. to noon specials Thanksgiving Day, although the store stayed open until 9 p.m., and has other specials for Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving Day so deemed because it’s traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year, when retailers get into black, or profitable, sales figures.
There are additional specials at the store through the weekend.
“Sears is also open until noon with specials, but I don’t know how they’re doing,” Chytka said. “We’ve been doing great from the time we opened so, hopefully, they’re doing well, too.”
Sears and Kmart are owned by the same corporation.
Although traffic through the store was not as brisk as the Kmart store, a Sears associate said they were doing not bad, most customers coming in with an idea of what they intended to buy.
Kmart has traditionally opened on holidays where other major retailers are closed, and Thursday was no exception, the store taking advantage of the holiday opening to crack open the first refrigerated container of Christmas trees.
“They’re really fresh this year,” said Donald Nihipali, a Kmart employee who has done Christmas trees in previous years. “You can tell how fresh they are when you crack the container and smell the trees.”
Moke Miyashiro, a Christmas-tree veteran of five years, said the trees were moving out steadily despite the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We had to come early,” said Sole Fernandez of Puhi, who walked through the door with husband Baco. “We gotta see what they got and go home quick because I gotta cook for lunch. The family is getting together in Wailua.”
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