Friday, June 25, 1999

Retail sales show
some strength in April

For the fourth consecutive month this year, most major Oahu shopping centers posted higher sales in April compared with the year-earlier month.

Only the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center had a decline and that was attributed to a drop in tourists. Ala Moana Center, which also relies heavily on tourists, had its biggest percentage gain of the year -- 8.46 percent.

Statewide retail sales, meanwhile, were at $1.297 billion for the month, soared 14.4 percent from $1.134 billion in April 1998, according to state Department of Taxation records.


Here's a look at the major malls' results for April, the most recent month available, provided to the Star-Bulletin by the malls.

Bullet Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center: Sales fell 3 percent, said Charlian Wright, marketing director. "The visitor arrivals also posted a 3 percent decrease over April of last year," Wright noted. "Visitors are increasingly more value and activity oriented, opting for more experiences of Hawaii which they can't get elsewhere in the world."

Bullet Ala Moana Center: Sales gained 8.46 percent, said General Manager Dwight Yoshimura, who said the gain was due to new spring merchandise and increased spending by visitors.

Last month, Ala Moana saw the opening of the Island Collections apparel store, the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant, and the Leah women's lingerie shop.

Bullet Victoria Ward Centers: Business was up 13 percent, said Valery O'Brien, managing director of marketing. O'Brien said the Easter and Mother's Day events and promotions helped boost sales. New stores in June are Flying Flags, selling flags and accessories, and First Impression, a beauty-supply store.

Bullet Kahala Mall: Sales rose 8.73 percent, said Laurie Hara, marketing director. "We had our annual travel expo, with giveaways for trips to Las Vegas and other places and a very successful spring fashion show for those traveling abroad," Hara said.

An Ann Taylor clothing store opened in April.

Bullet Pearlridge Center: Business was up 6.3 percent, said Holly Laser, marketing manager. "Sales continue to increase," she said. "In April, it was the 30th consecutive month." New shops set for fall openings are Pacific Sunwear, with casual clothing, and d.e.m.o., featuring urban apparel.

Bullet Windward Mall: Sales increased 3 percent, said Sandi Oguma, marketing director. "The hobby and special interests (category) was up 19 percent, jewelry was up 13 percent and men's, women's and unisex apparel continue to trend ahead," Oguma said.

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