Guam – There may be a new trend in retail Black Friday sales are now beginning on Thanksgiving Thursday. In fact for places like Kmart and the Micronesia Mall doors opened for Black Friday sales last night. While some stores opened at midnight stores like Macys in the mall opened their doors at 8pm on Thursday night.
Black Friday has started signifigantly earlier this year. In fact for places like Kmart and the Micronesia Mall black Friday actually began yesterday. “Black Friday started Thursday evening at 8 o’clock and some of the stores open at eleven some of the stores open at 8 o’clock in the morning so it depends what their corporate office would order them to do,” said Micronesia Mall operations manager Vic Lo. Lo says for stores in the mall like Toys-R-Us, Cinnabun, Footlocker, Gamestop and Macy’s black Friday began on Thursday. Lo says that the mall was packed last night and since this morning. We caught up with some black Friday shoppers like mother and daughter shopping duo Lisa and Risa Guevarra. We asked them what they thought of black Friday shopping. “It’s pretty good. It was like pretty hard to find parking at first but we got one and then the deals are really good like I saved so much on Christmas shopping already,” said Risa. We also asked if they tried to go shopping the night before. “We were planning to but we heard people saying the parking was really bad so we decided to come today we got good deals still,” said Lisa. Chris Jackson started his Christmas shopping bright and early. “5am. we went to Navy, Big Navy and then we came here afterwards,” said Jackson adding, “It’s hectic but it’s good it”s good for everybody.”
Shopppers like these fuel what is the largest most important day for retail sales for the entire year but what does this mean for the economy as a whole? “Interestingly retail is one of the largest single sectors in Guam’s economy with over 11 thousand employees out of 61 thousand and in addition to retail the retail industry supports the wholesale industry so that adds more than 2,300 additional employees so combined the percent of the private sector is just about 30 percent in the trade industry as well as if you look in terms of total employment 29 percent of private in terms of total employment, it’s about 22 percent of Guam’s economy,” said GovGuam Department of Labor Economist Gary Hiles. He says that while black Friday is a make or break it day for retailers in the U.S. mainland on Guam retail sales are more spread out throughout the course of the year. Nevertheless black Friday and the Christmas season is still important.
“About 50 percent of the total retail trade is due to the local residents and about 25 percent tourists so in Guam we’re quite different from the states in that we have such a high component of tourist expenditures and retail trade,” said Hiles. In fact Lo says that tourists are helping to make this a better Christmas season for sales than last year. “The Christmas season this year would be better compared to last year because one we have the locals that is already doing their early christmas shopping of course the Japanese tourists are here. To add on to that we have an increased number of Korean tourists that are in town, the Russians, the Chinese so this year it will be better than last year so thats a good indication that the economy is trying is going to be up this year compared to last year,” said Lo adding “The Christmas spirit is really in town and I’m happy for that despite what’s happening all over the world. Guam is happy.”
Hiles also points out that because Thankgiving landed later in the month than last year this year’s shopping season is actually shorter.