News

Holiday shopping down for the season

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

Kitsap Mall may have seemed less busy this holiday season than in the past, but the numbers are not as dramatic as one would imagine.

Kitsap Mall is reporting only a 4 percent decrease in foot traffic this holiday season, according to Kitsap Mall Spokeswoman Stacey Ames.

“We are showing a decrease, a slight decrease in traffic,” Ames said. “I would say we are probably down 4 percent for the season, which isn’t too bad.”

Macerich, Kitsap Mall’s parent company, owns retail centers across the country and Macerich Spokeswoman Judy Gray said the holiday shopping trend varied from market to market, but the weekend before Christmas showed an 18 percent increase in sales compared to the same weekend in 2006.

“The season started out with strong numbers on Black Friday, then softened and then there was a huge last-minute shopping frenzy,” Gray said. “It was definitely a year of procrastination.”

Robin Long, owner of Sun Prairie Trading Company in Kitsap Mall, said the business did about average this Christmas shopping season.

“We did well,” Long said. “We didn’t do as well as we wanted to do, but we didn’t do too badly.”

Macy’s also fared well this holiday shopping season, according to store manager Kim Lassisa. She added that the post-holiday shopping frenzy is in full swing at the department store.

“It’s been crazy for about the last day-and-a-half,” she said.

Ames said the weekdays were not quite as busy this holiday season at Kitsap Mall, but Black Friday and weekends were bustling, which was similar to retail centers across the country.

“We’re always somewhere in the middle,” she said. “We’re a good indicator of the average.”

Ames said mall gift card sales were down, but individual stores showed an increase in gift card sales. With people returning unwanted gifts and redeeming their gift cards, Kitsap Mall and malls across the country have been packed for the past week.

“Since Christmas, the malls across the country have been extremely busy,” Gray said. “The gift card sales have really changed and extended the buying period. Hundreds of millions of dollars in gift card sales will be redeemed in stores.”

Gray predicts the month of January will continue to be busy with people using gift cards and partaking in post-holiday shopping, which will continue to boost retail sales nationwide.

With post-holiday shoppers out in full force, Sun Prairie Trading Company, Macy’s and other stores inside Kitsap Mall continue to rake in money.

“It’s not really over till it’s over,” Long said.

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