BY BRUNA PATELLI
Christmas is the most crucial time of the year for fashion stores focused on fashion wear for parties and events.
Typically, December is the month of office Christmas parties and gatherings of families and friends.
This year, with the restrictions on events and large wedding parties and other gatherings suspended in Guam due to COVID-19, fashionwear sales focused on events segments have seen a drastic decline since the beginning of the pandemic, retailers said.
This area is also one of the most affected by COVID, according to local retailers as the growth in online sales has increased.
“With social isolation and a possible drop in the movement, it may seem impossible to have any results. More than ever, we need to use creativity and engage our customer,” Douglas Edward, owner of Tropic Wear clothing store on Marine Corps Drive in Tamuning, told the Journal.
To connect with his clients, he said he will invest in marketing and offer sales items for Christmas.
He hopes that the community will focus more on buying from local stores and support the more local economy. “Since we live on an island, the community should support the local businesses,” he said.
However, Edward is not optimistic.
“I’m not expecting to make big sales because of the government restrictions for gatherings; people are canceling events and parties; they are doing small gatherings,” he said.
Edward said the store has made sure it has enough stock and a variety of styles to satisfy customers, has sanitized the stores and cashiers will sanitize their area after each client.
“We brought a few party dresses and suits — if anyone is looking for a party outfit. People are still going out and traveling for the holidays. We hope they can come to us if they need any-thing; we are prepared,” he said.
Gaylord Guam in Tamuning usually has more demand for designing and tailoring wedding and events dresses and suits from its customers.
“At Christmas, we renew the emotional connection with consumers and strengthen our business,” said Pitter Vaswani, fashion designer and one of the owners of fashion store Gaylord in Tamuning.
He says there have been minimal demands for wedding outfits, and Christmas will be challenging for the business, but the store still expects to sell some custom outfits.
“I have dresses and suits designed by us in our store; I’m working more with the client. Each client has a different taste, we can make what the customer asks,” Vaswani said.
Gaylord is ready to make something special for shoppers.
“We have a pretty good stock of many options of fabrics. We are equipped, prepared to attend to any client,” he said. In addition, Vaswani said even in December Gaylord is able to alter gar-ments for special events, in a matter of
days. “But if it is a significant dress, more details can take a little bit more time. I like to work with quality; I try to do my work basing on perfection and make my clients happy with our work,” Vaswani said.
While Macy’s at the Micronesia Mall expects online orders with collection in the store, it is also prepared for in-person shopping for the holidays.
Ryan Torres, general manager of Macy’s, told the Journal, “Whether in-store or at home, customers have options, and can shop however is most convenient and comfortable for them.”
As to what clothing Macy’s is stocking for the holidays, Torres said, “We have stock prepared for the holidays events, dresses, jewelry, makeup, bags, also beach wear, sunglasses, loungewear, office wear, and sportswear. We pretty much have options for everything our clients may need.”
Macy’s has brought some party options dresses, goes to the traditional black to sequin dresses.
Torres said Macy’s also expects that the store will see some shoppers looking to stretch their budget and is offering items across all price ranges.
“We’ve organized our best gifts by price tiers for shoppers looking to cross off every item – from stocking stuffers to “gifts below [a certain price] to luxury items,” he said.
Macy’s saw heavy foot traffic on Black Friday and during the Thanksgiving Weekend, though it saw traffic due to offering Thanksgiving prices early.
Torres said the store beat expectations, maybe because shoppers were drawn by special sales items across the board. He expects to beat expectations again for Christmas. “It’s nice and tradi-tional to have under the Christmas tree a few gifts for our loved ones,” he said. mbj