The Maui News - Santa appears to have been especially good to Maui retailers this year, with several local stores reporting strong holiday sales despite national reports to the contrary.
"We definitely did better than last year," said Lesley Cummings, store manager for Maui Thing, a clothing and accessory boutique in Wailuku.
Cummings and other local retailers said the longer-than-usual gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year--almost five weeks--created a slowdown in between busy periods, but as Christmas approached, they started getting a lot busier.
Last year, actual holiday sales nationwide--retail sales in November and December--grew 5.6 percent, according to the National Retail Federation. But this year, holiday sales fell short of retail forecasts for the season. The federation had forecast a 4.1 percent boost in holiday sales this year for about $586 billion in revenues.
But sales of electronics, clothing, jewelry and home goods in the two months before Christmas increased just 0.7 percent over last year, according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse report.
MasterCard Advisors, an information service that tracks retail sales across all payment methods, said that in 2011, the final 10 days before Christmas generated about $147 billion in retail sales volume, making up nearly 24 percent of the holiday shopping season.
It also said that the final week of December typically accounts for 15 percent of the month's sales for retailers, making the next five days critical for many stores.