As COVID restrictions batter mall sales, shopping centers try new strategies for Black Friday

As COVID restrictions batter mall sales, shopping centers try new strategies for Black Friday

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Hawaiian Island Creation’s surf shop at Ala Moana Center, Black Friday discounts began Wednesday and are being extended for a week.

Nearly two dozen of Ala Moana’s tenants are partnering with Roberts Hawaii to deliver goods straight to customers’ homes.

And for those who want to avoid waiting in lines at shops that can only serve 50% of their traditional foot traffic at a time, the state’s largest shopping center is also offering curbside pick up for customers of some stores.

“They’re focusing on what they can control and continuing to find new and innovative and creative ways to manage through this,” said Jake Wilson, Ala Moana Center’s general manager.

Friday marks the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. But under the city’s reopening strategy, Oahu is only in the second tier, which means that retailers can only operate at 50% capacity.

That doesn’t bode well for sales at traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

“When you’re 50% down, you’re constricted. It’s like of like you and I walking with one arm and one leg tied,” said real estate expert Stephany Sofos.

The pandemic and social distancing requirements have already wrecked havoc in Hawaii’s retail sector. National retailer Williams Sonoma is in the process of closing its Ala Moana store. Banana Republic closed its store at the mall in the summer.

“That shows you that national and international tenants are concerned because Hawaii has been the best market for them ever,” said Sofos.

But Wilson believes retailers will learn to adapt to the changing real estate landscape.

“It’s going to be an evolution and I am excited to see and be a part of that future,” he said.

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