The Maui News - Maui retailers are optimistic about holiday season sales, with stores saying they already are seeing an "uptick" in business in December and feeling that customers are more confident about spending.
"I think sales are going to be up this season," said local retailer Lisa Payne, who owns three retail shops. "We have started off very strong at the first part of this year."
"With the election being over, I think people are feeling a little more confident in their spending. I think it's going to be a good holiday," said Payne, who runs apparel, gifts and furnishing stores Hale Zen in Lahaina and Designing Wahine Emporium in Makawao. She also has a new furniture warehouse showroom in Lahaina.
In Makawao and Lahaina, Payne sees that visitors, especially those from Canada, are opening up their wallets. She believes that Mainland travelers still think that Hawai'i is a good place to be and will come to the islands rather than go to a foreign country.
Maui retailers have a reason to be optimistic. The National Retail Federation said that though there still may be political and fiscal uncertainties, it believes that there is improvement in consumer confidence.
The federation predicts that holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion this year.
NRF's holiday forecast is higher than the 10-year average annual holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent. Holiday sales in 2011 grew 5.6 percent from the previous year.