Oahu's retail stores are feeling the pinch early this year

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Mar 30 2014 06:20:25 PM HST
Updated On: Mar 30 2014 06:29:27 PM HST

Oahu's retail stores are feeling the pinch of low tourism retail spending early this year.

HONOLULU -

Oahu's retail stores are feeling the pinch early this year. The closure of Price Busters, and the lack of tourism spending has had far reaching effects on Hawaii's retail market.

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The closure of eight Price Busters stores in January brought down the Honolulu Retail Market according to Colliers International Report. 90,000 square feet of retail are left empty. Parking lots at shopping centers like Dillingham Shopping Plaza where Price Busters used to be are less crowded. 

And its mirrored the slow sales Waikiki retailers recorded. Colliers said merchants of apparel, jewelry and souvenir in the area became weaker in the first quarter of 2014.

"Typically, we would try to be above what we set our goal at. Lately during the earlier months of this year we've been below or just make the goal we've set," said Kaui Kuaiwa manager at Brandy Melville.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said there has been a leveling off of arrivals this year. There are about 300 fewer air passengers per day. Once here, tourists are spending on average $16 less during their trip this year compared to last.

"Tourists greatly out way local people by 70 to 40 percent so we really rely on tourists especially at this location," said Kuaiwa.

Despite the slowing of tourism, spending local stores are optimistic, and banking on the local economy to strengthen.

"From January to February we have been slower but its always expected to pick up usually during spring break into summer," said Azia Bird manager at Hawaiian Island Creations.

The HTA said it expects the markets from the West and East United States to continue to decline in 2014, but hopes to grow strength in international markets with Korea and China.

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