by: Diane Ako
HONOLULU (KHNL) - We're smack in the middle of the holiday shopping season, and experts say it's been a strong season for Hawaii retailers so far. Vangie Guzman is looking for "clothing and household pans which we use every day." Another shopper, Carly Tamura, shows us something she bought today. "It's a blanket from the Disney Store. It's really cute."
Hawaii retailers say the hot sellers this year are electronics, jewelry, and clothing. It all makes retailers very happy. Industry group "Retail Merchants of Hawai'i" tracks sales figures. CEO Carol Pregill says, "Just about everyone has reported there's been an increase over last year."
The National Retail Federation predicts a 5% gain countrywide in holiday spending over last year. Pregill believes Hawaii will post 8% gains! "My sense it because our economy is booming, we have low unemployment, people are working, I think we're going to exceed that."
Some local store managers say they're experiencing a strong season so far. Lei Orosco at Cinnamon Girl says the sales figures at her store parallel the mainland. "It's like the nation. It's trending up. We follow what the mainland is doing."
At Sears, store manager Andy Hall says, "We are expecting a strong season. Sales are great in a lot of areas: electronics, LCDs, TVs are always popular items."
Most retailers say holiday spending comprises 25 to 40% of their yearly sales dollars! Orosco smiles, "We're expecting a green Christmas this year!"