National analysts called this year the worst shopping season since 2008, citing a report showing the sales in the two months before Christmas grew only 0.7 percent over last year.
But some local retailers felt their stores fared well this holiday season.
“It was about what we expected,” Sports Authority manager Alvin Tayo said.
The store was on target for the budgeted sales this season, and while the numbers were lower than last year, the retail chain attributed that not to a sluggish economy, but the opening of a Hilo store earlier this year.
Gun sales were particularly brisk, Tayo said. Trampolines were also big sellers.
At the other end of the Kona Commons shopping center, Jeans Warehouse employees saw gift cards, maxi skirts and dresses and sweaters head out the doors at a brisk pace, Assistant Manager Nicole Guillermo said.
“It was actually really good during Christmas Eve and the two weeks before that,” she said, adding the store stayed open several hours later than usual in the nights leading up to Christmas, and customers flocked in during those extra hours. “There was a lot of last-minute Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. It was busier than the weekends.”
HIC Surf manager Dayton De Luz was positive about the store’s first Christmas in Kona.
“It did well,” De Luz said Thursday, adding the two days after Christmas have also shown steady sales. “A lot of HIC logo merchandise has been selling really well.”
A big item for the store this season was the GoPro camera, DeLuz said.
National analysts were calling for a 3 percent to 4 percent growth in holiday spending, the Associated Press reported earlier this week. The 0.7 percent increase was based on the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report. That report looks at sales by retailers in key holiday spending categories such as electronics, clothing, jewelry, luxury goods, furniture and other home goods between Oct. 28 and Dec. 24. They include sales across all payment methods, including cards, cash and checks.
Attempts to reach managers or media contacts for several local and national retailers, including Target and Macy’s, were not successful Thursday. The Associated Press reported those retailers typically release their national sales figures in early January.