Holiday jingles tills

Local retailers reported good Christmas sales this year, with some even saying it was better than good.

‘We had a good year,’ said Mary Adam of Hobbies and Books.

Mrs. Adams pointed out, however, that Christmas sales this year might not have surpassed last year, when many retailers were still closed due to Hurricane Ivan damage.

‘We had a good year last year, too,’ she said. ‘We have a great more competition this year.’

Edward Solomon, owner of the Arabus clothing store, was one of the retailers that reported banner holiday sales.

‘It was phenomenal,’ he said. ‘It was one of the best seasons I’ve ever seen. Everything was selling.’

Mr. Solomon said he was busy right through Christmas Eve, and that the sales had not stopped.

‘Yesterday was great, too,’ he said on Thursday.

Not all retailers in George Town found the Christmas sales great.

John Rae, managing director of the Island Companies chain of shops, said holiday sales this year were a little softer than what had been expected.

‘But weather played a role in that,’ he said, noting that inclement weather forced cruise ships to miss some calls on Grand Cayman last week

Mr. Rae also said the timing of Christmas hurt a little this year.

‘Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday, which is unusual,’ he said, noting the day normally provides very strong sales.

‘We lost some energy as a result, and the sales died early. We planned to be open quite late, but we closed early in the end.’

Even so, when the figures are all in, Mr. Rae thinks the overall sales to local residents, who make up the second part of Island Companies’ market, may well have been better than last year.

A.L. Thompson Home Depot also had good holiday sales, according to financial controller Norm Parsons.

‘Over all, it was a very good year,’ he said. ‘But it was an entirely different year than last year,’ he said.

A.L. Thompson also had a very strong December last year, but people were buying things like sheetrock and other goods to rebuild after Hurricane Ivan.

‘Building materials were down from last year, but major appliances, which we didn’t have a lot of last year, were way up.’

Mr. Parsons said sales on small appliances, house wares and special Christmas items were also up this year.

Even alcohol sales were up. Paul McLaughlin of Jacques Scott called the sales ‘quite good’, although not nearly as good as 1999, on the eve of the Millennium celebrations.

‘Our basket sales were good, as were sales on champagne, high-end wines and port.’

Mr. McLaughlin said the holiday season was not over yet for Jacques Scott.

‘With establishments closing early this year, a lot of people are staging house parties, so we expect good sales on Friday and Saturday,’ he said.