Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, July 30, 2001

Theater lifts Ward Center

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

A slippage in sales at most of the state's major shopping malls continued in May, though many continue to maintain positive same-store sales for the first five months of the year.

This spring sent sales figures down for most shopping malls.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Out of 11 major shopping complexes in Hawai'i, only two — Victoria Ward Centres in Honolulu and Kukui Grove Center in Lihu'e, Kaua'i — posted sizeable gains.

The 16-screen theater that opened at Victoria Ward May 23 contributed to the center's 7 percent boost in sales for the month, according to Victoria Ward officials. Kukui Grove's 7 percent increase was related to improved consumer confidence on Kaua'i and aggressive marketing, center officials said.

Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo on the Big Island was the only other center to report higher sales during the month compared to the same month last year. Three centers reported flat sales.

The centers with softer sales attributed the slowdown primarily to theater competition and year-over-year declines in visitor arrivals.

Pearlridge Center, which has a 16-screen theater, cited the May openings of 10 screens at Windward Mall and 16 screens at Ward as factors in flat sales.

Less-than-blockbuster films released during Memorial Day weekend didn't draw as many people as last year's megahits "Gladiator" and "Mission Impossible 2," said mall marketing director Scott Creel.

Kahala Mall officials also credited Ward's theater with taking away some of its own theater business, which helps drive customer traffic. "Although it opened on the last weekend of the month, it was a holiday weekend, which is normally a busy period," said Laurie Hara, marketing director at Kahala Mall.

Theater competition also played a factor at Keauhou Shopping Center on the Big Island where May sales were down 8 percent. Marleen Akau, the center's general manager, said a 10-screen cinema at Makalapua Center that opened late last year in nearby Kailua, Kona, has affected sales at Keauhou, which has a 7-plex.

"The traffic is split two ways," she said. "A lot of the people coming to Keauhou (for the movies) just stay in town."

For shopping centers that depend on visitors for business, outdoing the sales figures of last May — when tourist arrivals hit an all-time record for the month — was difficult.

Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center sales were down 14 percent over May 2000. Center officials said the main factors were a weaker yen-to-dollar value, as well as some spaces at the mall that were closed for renovation during most of the month.

At Aloha Tower Marketplace, where sales were down 6 percent in May, center officials said the decrease was mostly because of fewer customers from Japan. The rate of Japanese tourists declined nearly 8 percent in May compared to the same month a year earlier.

Domestic visitor travel also was lower, affecting sales at some malls. Arrivals from the Mainland, which make up about two-thirds of all travel to Hawai'i, fell almost 4 percent in May.

Several centers, despite the May figures, have maintained growth for the first five months of the year.

Among them: Keauhou and Ka'ahumanu centers, where sales are up 2 percent for the year through May; and Kahala Mall, where sales remain 4 percent higher for the same period.

• • •

Andrew Gomes can be reached at 525-8065, or by e-mail at agomes@honoluluadvertiser.com.