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Storms rain on profit parade

Clothing, Accessories, and ShoesTarget Brands, Inc.Macy's, Inc.La Perla

A wet Christmas week made for happy times at the Glendale Galleria, which reported strong holiday sales as customers were driven indoors by the inclement weather.

"The rain makes me sing, literally," said Shoshana Puccia, senior marketing director for the Galleria. "Whether it is super hot or raining and super cold, we benefit."

The indoor shopping center anchored by Macy's, Nordstrom, Target and JCPenney reported preliminary revenue growth of up between 2.5% and 6% over Christmas 2009 in every category, from fashion and footwear to electronics — its strongest holiday showing since 2004, Puccia said, despite lingering unemployment.

"I think people budgeted for the holidays and then weren't afraid to spend it, versus the last couple of years when they were saving it for a rainy day," Puccia said.

Shoppers didn't necessarily brave the wet weather at the neighboring Americana at Brand, but they were back when the sun came out, said Jennifer Gordon, vice president of public relations at the Americana.

"It was a very strong season," Gordon said. "People were out shopping, not looking around. I think people are feeling more confident."

Gordon said the day after Christmas, a sunny Sunday, effectively extended the shopping season for a day.

Several stores were up 10% or more above Christmas 2009, Gordon said, with the H&M clothing store outperforming every H&M in the region except for the one on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bad weather took a toll at Montrose Shopping Park.

Dale Dawson, executive director of the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., said 2010 was a tough year for mom-and-pop shops, with the district losing a few stores, including Annie's Scandal.

"Then we got a week of rain just before Christmas," Dawson said. "It was a challenging season in every possible way."

Jake Menachian, owner of Critters gift shop and La Perla Design Gallery, offered a mixed report.

Critters, with most items under $20 or so, was down all year.

"But in the higher end, it is a different story," Menachian said.

Le Perla, a home décor store, benefited from strong demand for Michael Aram housewares, Menachian said.

"People come in just for that brand. It made it happen for us," he said.

Menachian noted that the Armenian Christmas holiday will be celebrated on Jan. 5, so "we still have traffic left from that."

He acknowledged the challenge for independent shops as they battle for retail dollars, but said Montrose has some advantages.

"It is a beautiful shopping park. It should do much better," Menachian said. "Thank god a lot of people have faith and support their local stores. If they didn't, that would really be a killer."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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