Shoppers Cut Back on Spending Due to Weak Economy

Fred Paine
Fred Paine

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Attention shoppers!  The ups and down of the stock market are not only felt on wall street. And the ripple effects of growing number of foreclosures wash up here on our shores as well.

It's long been a place to get a way for a few hours and not worry about the concerns of the world. Instead, malls were meant to be a place to shop, eat or enjoy a movie. But now the nation's economic concerns are something some shoppers are carrying with them, along with their shopping lists.

At Pearlridge Center, the sale signs are up and there's plenty of shoppers but with a gloomy outlook to our national economy, are they still spending like they used to?

"Considering everything we hear from the mainland, Pearlridge is holding it own," said Pearlridge General Manager Fred Paine.

Some stores are even sitting pretty with consumers, especially ones that sell personal care items.

"It's been much more steady than last year, it's been a better year, people have been coming in and enjoying purchasing products," said Karen Hudson, a retail salesperson.

Island restaurants, from fast food to sit down establishments are also booming at Pearlridge and other malls across Oahu.

But some shoppers have changed their spending patterns, in response to economic concerns.

"We still come to the mall like we used to but we don't purchase like we used to. "We think more before we purchase what we really need," said Pearl City resident Chinatsu Gamibill.

And that has meant a number of stores, including clothing and apparel shops have started off 2008 with weaker sales.

"A lot slower than last year."

Fewer sales at this local motion store, will have an big impact on the staff.

"Hours with employees we're going to have cut back a bit," said retail manager Melinda Cruz.

And while busier summer months could provide a boost for business at the mall, given the economic forecast, it could be a long summer for struggling stores.

"We look at what's happening with gas prices and we're concern as well but we're looking at a slight slowdown but hopefully sales will stay steady," said Paine.

Paine adds that shoppers at Pearlridge are mainly made up of military and locals, and that's one of the reasons sales have stayed strong.

But malls that cater to tourists may be seeing slower sales because some may cut back on spending because of the country's weaker economy.