Cayman’s retailers are preparing for a last-minute Christmas shopping rush this weekend.
It has already been a bumper shopping season, according to several store owners and Saturday is expected to see residents fill the aisles again in search of last-minute gifts.
Many retailers have extended opening hours until at least 9 p.m. on Saturday, the last full shopping day before Christmas.
Big selling items in the run-up to Christmas have included jewelry, alcohol, and water guns for kids.
“For us, it is always about the toys,” said Joe Thorne, manager of Cost-U-Less.
He said Lego, Havoc scooters and Nerf-style play equipment were flying off the shelves.
“Every day we are restocking. It is crazy how quick they go,” he said.
At Book Nook on West Bay Road, the Nerf guns and super soaker toys are also doing well.
Baby Alive interactive dolls and soft toy characters known as Num Noms are also featuring highly on children’s Christmas lists, according to manager Nickeisha Hydes.
For adults, she said, the big sellers were a “Game of Thrones”-themed version of Monopoly and the ever-popular game Cards Against Humanity.
It has been a busy year for high-end items also, with Kirk Freeport reporting brisk trade in its jewelry stores and perfumeries.
“We have had a pretty good season so far with all the additional tourists, but it is always very busy in the run-up to Christmas,” said vice president Chris Kirkconnell.
He said watches – everything from $30 Swatch to brands like Cartier and Rolex – were particularly popular.
The Kirk Freeport stores will be open until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“Saturday, we are expecting it to be our busiest day because we won’t be open Christmas Eve,” Mr. Kirkconnell said.
Many of the stores in Camana Bay, including Books & Books and the Mac Store, were advertising late opening for Saturday, with some open for a limited time on Sunday as well.
Matt Bishop, CEO of Island Companies, which operates multiple stores across the island, including the Pandora store, Island Jewelers and De Sunglass Man, said there was a buoyant mood around Cayman before Christmas.
“Camana Bay is doing well and we are seeing lots of traffic,” he said. “The next few days are going to be really telling for us because of the way Christmas falls this year. Saturday is going to be a big day.”
He said jewelry and alcohol were the biggest sellers.
“Alcohol is a big part of the festive season and we always see strong sales right through to new year when those dry January resolutions start to kick in.”
The online retail phenomenon that has hurt high street stores in other parts of the world over the past decade does not seem to have had the same impact in Cayman, with many store owners believing residents prefer to shop locally.
“Once you have ordered and paid for delivery and the duties start to kick in, it is probably cheaper to buy on island and you don’t have that confusion about when it will arrive,” said Mr. Thorne, of Cost-U-Less.
“I also think people like to support local businesses and see what they can get on island first.”