Oahus mall salesStar-Bulletin staff
mixed in November
Early Christmas shopping, and greater use of gift certificates, helped boost sales in November at some suburban Oahu shopping centers.
But malls more dependent on tourism continued to show declines in November compared with November 1997.
Statewide retail sales, meanwhile, were at $1.436 billion for the month, up 38.6 percent from $1.036 billion in November 1997, according to state Department of Taxation records.
(But the department said their figures may be distorted on a monthly basis due to variations in taxpayer reporting and processing these returns.)
Here's a look at the major malls' results for November, the most recent month available, provided to the Star-Bulletin by the malls.
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center: Sales fell 15.5 percent, said Charlian Wright, marketing director.
"Overall visitor counts were down 3.1 percent and hotel occupancies in Waikiki were down about 6 percent," Wright said. "However, the events and excitement generated with the French Festival and its many participating retailers and activities helped to increase sales for both these retailers and surrounding businesses."
Ala Moana Center: Business slipped 8.39 percent, said Dwight Yoshimura, general manager. Still, the mall saw many early Christmas sales in November.
"This year, merchants had major sales events early on," Yoshimura said. "Major anchors had a lot of big sales events."
The food court, with new and reopened outlets, saw an increase of 3.5 percent in November.
The Cove Bar, Hurricane Hut, and Waldenbooks opened in November; the Hoono Tea Infusions kiosk and Kimo Bagelman's opened in December.
Victoria Ward Centers: Sales rose 2.7 percent, said Valery O'Brien, managing director of marketing.
"We had a very good sale on gift certificates which we estimate were up more than 300 percent," O'Brien said.
"Companies bought them for Christmas bonuses and shoppers also bought them."
Total sales figures were helped by new stores opening, including apparel store A New Season; Pier 1 Imports; and Brew Moon cafe, O'Brien said.
Kahala Mall: Business was up 5.74 percent, said Laurie Hara, marketing director. "We had a lot of early Christmas shoppers," Hara said.
Strong categories were: specialty apparel, up 28.66 percent; and entertainment, up 31.31 percent.
Pearlridge Center: Sales climbed 9.1 percent, said Heidi DiEugenio, marketing manager.
"A lot of our merchants saw the holiday rush (for Christmas) start as early as Veteran's Day (Nov. 11)," DiEugenio said.
Pearlridge featured a 50-ton Christmas sand sculpture and the Pearl City High School marching band to bring in holiday shoppers early.
Pearlridge will be remodeling its Uptown food court this spring.
Windward Mall: Business was down 9 percent, said Sandi Oguma, marketing director.
She said this was due to the slow economy and retail space changes at Windward Mall, which will add theaters later this year.
"We did have some good performers in November," Oguma said.
"Women's apparel was up 25 percent and men's apparel was up 15 percent."
Trade Secrets, which sells products from the Regis hairstylist chain, is expected to open in March.