Guam – GovGuam Department of Labor economist Gary Hiles says that there’s no hard data available yet but he suspects that this Christmas season was pretty good for retailers. In fact Micronesia Mall and Guam Premiere Outlets management both say that this year’s Christmas shopping season was a sucess and some stores like Ross have broken national sales records.
The Christmas season is over so how well did it do for the economy? “Well anecdotally some of the stores I went to looked very busy. It’s hard to tell for sure how it will all add up because there’s a lot of factors while some stores may be more busy other stores may be less busy due to competitive reasons. We also have the national trend of increasing online shopping how much of an affect that will have on Guam remains to be seen,” said Hiles. The DOL Economist says he won’t know exactly how much consumers spent on holiday shopping this year until the gross receipts taxes for December are filed on the 20th of next month.
However according to both the management of the Guam Premiere Outlets and the Micronesia Mall this year’s shopping season was extremely good. In fact GPO General Manager Monte Mesa says that their Ross outlet broke records for Christmas sales for the entire Ross chain nationwide. Mesa says their new stores like Tommy Hillfiger and Tommy Bahama did good as well this year.
Micronesia Mall operations manager Vic Lo says that sales this Christmas were definitely better than last year partly due to the payments that GovGuam law enforcement personnel received just before Christmas. “Well this year it’s particularly the release of the additional benefits of the employees of the government of Guam really added a big chunk of the improvement compared to last year,” said Lo adding, “The way we look at it, business is better compared to last year.”
Tourists play a major role in contributing to Guam’s Christmas sales. “Also unique on Guam compared to the mainland is about a quarter of our retail sales are from tourists,” said Hiles. Lo notes that tourists contributed to this years Christmas shopping as well. “The Japanese were here there’s aditional Koreans thanks to the good job of the visitors bureua. The Russians are here, the Chinese from Hong Kong from Taipei their here. So there’s no reason why we will not be better than last year,” said Lo. The Micronesia Mall operations manager also noted that the Russian visitors seem to have more spending money on them. “They spend a lot they spend mostly on brand names,” said Lo adding, “They’re buying Gap, Polo all those Tommy Hilfigger they really know what they want so it’s really something. They stay here not only four days three nights but they’re staying here a week ten days something like that. So they have that time to window shop first and then buy the things on the final two days of their stay.”
In related news Mesa says that the Guam Premiere Outlets will soon be adding a brand new national retail chain in 2014.