Retail sales OK for Christmas

Retailers that cater to the resident population generally reported they were happy with the 2006 holiday sales.

‘It was OK,’ said Larry Thompson, manager of A.L. Thompson Home Depot. ‘The Christmas stuff sold pretty well.’

Mr. Thompson said housewares and tools also sold fairly well, but in general, sales were ‘average or slightly below’.

Home and Office City also reported sales figures below last year, but General Manager Theresa Leacock-Broderick said there was a reason.

‘We were down from last year, but that’s because last year people were still replacing items lost in Hurricane Ivan,’ she said.

Ms Leacock-Broderick said sales were more in line to what they were for the Christmas seasons before Hurricane Ivan.

‘We’re getting back to a sense of normalcy,’ she said.

Overall, sales were fairly average for the Christmas season, Ms Leacock-Broderick said.

‘It was nothing to get overly excited about.’

Some of the high-ticket items like large plasma televisions did sell very well at Home and Office City, partially because prices have dropped Mrs. Leacock-Broderick said.

However, the big items were not selling as well at Sounds and Things, said owner William Peguero.

‘We’re thankful,’ he said. ‘Sales were good, but not as good as we had hoped for. Some of the high-end products like big TVs didn’t move as quickly as we had hoped.’

At Kirk True Value Home Centre, Bridgette Kirkconnell said the company was happy with Christmas sales.

Because Kirk Home Centre recently reopened at its original location after rebuilding from Hurricane Ivan, Ms Kirkconnell said it was not really relevant to compare sales with last year.

However, the store still had a target for sales, which was to reach a level similar to what it had before Hurricane Ivan, which was attained, Ms Kirkconnell said.

As is traditionally the case in Cayman, retailers had to wait until the last two days of shopping before Christmas until really knowing how they did.

‘We had our best two-day period ever,’ said Stanley Panton, owner of the Reflections group of stores. Reflections Mega Department Store stayed open until midnight on the Saturday before Christmas to meet the demand.

Overall, sales at the Reflections store were slightly above average, Mr. Panton said.

‘However, we were very pleased with our sales because we knew that there would be a decrease on big ticket items such as large screen TVs, as most people bought new ones after rebuilding from Hurricane Ivan.’

Mr. Panton said the volume of sales at the store was up, although the sales were for smaller items.

‘I think more people shopped on the island this year,’ he said, adding that things like higher airfare costs, lower baggage weight allowances and tougher Customs baggage policies have made many people realise it is not cost efficient to shop off island.

‘Unless you’re spending at least $5,000… it’s just not worth it,’ he said.

Alcoholic beverages were something that sold very well at Liquor 4 Less store.

Mr. Panton said sales more than doubled at the store, but that they could have been even higher had the Liquor Licensing Board granted an extra hour on 23 December.

’50 customers were turned away between 8and 9pm on December 23rd alone,’ he said.

Jacques Scott also experienced some growth in its alcohol sales, according to Retail Operations Manager Paul McLaughlin.

‘We came in right around our [sales projection] budget,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t bad for us.’

Mr. McLaughlin said the up-market beverages sold well.

‘The Champaign sector did well, as against the sparkling wine sector,’ he said.