By Jeanny Lavache
Local retail stores have seen a strong gain in revenue during the last month. According to The Associated Press, The International Council of Shopping Centers Index of 28 retailers rose 4.2 percent compared with the same month last year.
The JCPenney in The Oaks Mall saw higher sales in men’s clothing, home decorating items and luggage.
“We followed national trends of higher sales per store,” said Sara Oldere, JCPenney local manager.
Victoria’s Secret saw the best sales on record for its annual “2-4-1” intimate apparel sale according to store manager Virginia Brown. Overall the store sales were up 12 percent from last year, and with the economy doing better women seem to be more willing to buy their line, said Brown.
Representatives from Macy’s and Dillard’s would not give specific numbers, but said sales for last month were definitely higher than those from last year.
Receipts from the mall food court were also higher. Mall Information Assistant Jane Whitmoore said overall food sales are totaled each month by the mall, and sales were up 9 percent.
“All the spaces are filled in the food court, and business has been very strong, especially in the early dinner hours of 4 to 6 in the afternoon,” Whitmoore said.
For retailers outside of The Oaks Mall, business is still doing well. Target Regional Manger Ira Goldstein said sales at the local store were up 8 percent from a year ago for the same month despite closing the outdoor gardening area, which is now used to expand the food items.
Target made some big improvements in departments such as children’s clothes, home and food.
Sales also seem to be doing well for local Walmart stores.
“Sales last month from Walmart stores continued to rise compared to a year ago,” said Ira Goldberg, regional manager. “We estimate an increase of 5.5 percent in sales despite our continued effort to serve our customers with lower prices on many items.”
Gainesville has also benefitted from the remolding of the Archer Road store and the opening of the new super Walmart on Northwest 34th Street, Goldberg said. The new store replaced a 35-year-old one on Northwest 13th Street.
“The new look has made the Archer store more attractive on the outside and easier to find items on the inside,” Goldberg said. “We think that made a difference.”
The local Kohl’s store sales is estimated to be up 8 to 9 percent from a year ago for the month, said Sallie Anderson, manager of the local Kohl’s store said.
“We are pleasantly surprised with last month’s sales,” Anderson said.
According to The Associated Press the positive economic news isn’t dispelling worries about rising prices. Analysts say more price shocks could scare consumers, especially low-and middle-income people, into pulling back on spending.
“The underlying (spending) trend is quite good,” said Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer affairs for Moody’s. “But increasing costs on basic necessities (are) a growing constraint on household budgets. Question we don’t know is: By how much?