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POSTED: Thursday, December 25, 2008

Surprises await with Fukubukuro

For those who never tire of surprises, two shopping centers will greet the new year with Fukubukuro, the Japanese tradition of “;happy shopping bags”; filled with special, mystery merchandise to be sold at less than retail value.

Ala Moana Center started the tradition in 2004, and on Jan. 1 will have a record 45 retailers offering bags filled with merchandise valued at twice the bag's cost. All bags are sealed to prevent shoppers from knowing the contents until they are opened. Each participating store will offer a limited number of bags containing a variety of products from that particular retailer. Bags will be available while supplies last, and all sales are final on Fukubukuro merchandise.

Shoppers should plan to arrive early, as most of the bags sell out shortly after stores open, which will be at 9:30 a.m. that day.

Participating retailers are Alfred Dunhill, Animation Magic, Aveda, Baccarat, Bally, Bag 'n Baggage, Betsey Johnson, Cathedral Gift Shop, Crabtree & Evelyn, Diesel, Disney Store, Fendi, Folli Follie, GNC, Gucci, Hawaiian Quilt Collection, J.Crew-on-the-Island, Le Grand Marqet, LeSportsac, Locals Only, L'Occitane, Lupicia Fresh Tea, MAX&Co., Maui Divers, Metropark, Miss Sixty, Neiman Marcus, Pacific Harley-Davidson, The Pacific Place Tea Garden, Philip Rickard Factory Showroom, Philip Rickard Honolulu, Ponte Vecchio Hotta, Salvatore Ferragamo, Shanghai Tang, Silver Rhino, Spiral Girl, Swatch, Thinker Tots, Thinker Toys, Valerie Joseph, Vera Bradley, Vim 'N Vigor, The Vitamin Shoppe, W Salon, and Wolford Boutique.

If you haven't checked out the renovated Royal Hawaiian Center yet, now's the time to catch up while checking out its Fukubukuro New Year's Day shopping event, starting at 10 a.m. Jan. 1, which also has bags filled with special merchandise to be sold at up to 50 percent off retail value.

Doraku Sushi, P.F. Chang's Waikiki and Senor Frog's restaurants will also offer a limited number of gift certificates ranging from $25 to $100 that can be purchased at up to 50 percent off its value. Doors will open at 10 a.m. for gift certificate sales, available while supplies last.

Participating shops are Ai Amore Luxury Lingerie, Allure Swimwear, Anteprima Plastiq, Faces Studio & Salon, FENDI, Furla, Harley-Davidson Honolulu, Island Soap & Candleworks, Koa Nani, Koi Boutique, Komang Jewelry, LeSportsac, L'Occitane, LUSH, Philip Rickard Honolulu, Princesse Tam-Tam, Royal Hawaiian Golf Shop, Salvatore Ferragamo, Senor Frog's Retail, SoHo, and Surf Gear.

 

Editor provides tips on shopping

If you're out bargain hunting this time of year, you might want to check out Kathryn Drury Wagner's “;The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on O'ahu.”;

Honolulu Magazine's executive editor shares insider tips on shopping hot spots, and some of the places to score the best deals, such as the back room at INTO on Hotel Street, “;where all the sales stuff lives.”;

Chapters make it easy to find information pertinent to your particular obsession, whether it's a fashion fix for the fiscally challenged, a shoe obsession, or a taste for vintage and consignment style.

The book, from Watermark Publishing, is $12.95. Look for it on local bookshelves.