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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesLOCAL SPENDING UP THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON

LOCAL SPENDING UP THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON

Local spending, not the tourist dollar, brought a merrier Christmas to island retailers this year. Locals, who had not been much in evidence all year, made up for it this season.
Kathryn Peterson, owner of the Leather Shop, said her biggest surprise this season has been local spending, which made all the difference.
"Sales were spectacular and above expectations," she said.
Corrine Van Rensselaer, who owns the Color of Joy, had a "wonderful season, up from last year both in the store and the frame shop." Almost all her business is local.
Echoing this trend, Debbie Shaw, hardline manager at Kmart, said, "Sales were excellent — better than anticipated,and better than last year."
But this wasn't the case everywhere.
Many stores, especially those dependent on the tourist dollar, suffered.
The Pampered Pirate's Sarah Kemp reported sales down 15 percent from last season.
"I think with the cheaper cruises, the cruise ship clientele has changed appreciably," Kemp said. "They simply aren't spending like they used to."
Meene Sahni of Carnival Gifts at Havensight said, "Sales were 50 percent lower than a regular heavy cruise ship day."
Anatalia Turbe of the venerable La Belle Creole in Frenchtown said she didn't reap the benefits of local spending either.
Joan Henle, retail director for Pussers, said that while their St. Thomas stores didn't do well, both the St. John and British Virgin Islands outlets did quite nicely.
The larger Main Street merchants are traditionally reluctant to release sales figures but many said they were happy, overall, with their Christmas sales.
Thomas B. Brunt III, president of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, said people he talked to on Christmas Eve had done well. In general, it seems most stores are doing better than last year, he said.
Brunt had a prediction: "The stores and business who will do really well are those who have invested in their businesses. Those people who have made physical improvements, invested in new inventory and who have spent time and money training their employees will reap the rewards of their investments."

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Local spending, not the tourist dollar, brought a merrier Christmas to island retailers this year. Locals, who had not been much in evidence all year, made up for it this season.
Kathryn Peterson, owner of the Leather Shop, said her biggest surprise this season has been local spending, which made all the difference.
"Sales were spectacular and above expectations," she said.
Corrine Van Rensselaer, who owns the Color of Joy, had a "wonderful season, up from last year both in the store and the frame shop." Almost all her business is local.
Echoing this trend, Debbie Shaw, hardline manager at Kmart, said, "Sales were excellent -- better than anticipated,and better than last year."
But this wasn't the case everywhere.
Many stores, especially those dependent on the tourist dollar, suffered.
The Pampered Pirate's Sarah Kemp reported sales down 15 percent from last season.
"I think with the cheaper cruises, the cruise ship clientele has changed appreciably," Kemp said. "They simply aren't spending like they used to."
Meene Sahni of Carnival Gifts at Havensight said, "Sales were 50 percent lower than a regular heavy cruise ship day."
Anatalia Turbe of the venerable La Belle Creole in Frenchtown said she didn't reap the benefits of local spending either.
Joan Henle, retail director for Pussers, said that while their St. Thomas stores didn't do well, both the St. John and British Virgin Islands outlets did quite nicely.
The larger Main Street merchants are traditionally reluctant to release sales figures but many said they were happy, overall, with their Christmas sales.
Thomas B. Brunt III, president of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, said people he talked to on Christmas Eve had done well. In general, it seems most stores are doing better than last year, he said.
Brunt had a prediction: "The stores and business who will do really well are those who have invested in their businesses. Those people who have made physical improvements, invested in new inventory and who have spent time and money training their employees will reap the rewards of their investments."