Christmas shopping shows good signs. Locals and expats behind the activity - Lebanon

Christmas shopping
shows good signs
Locals and expats behind the activity
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The retail activity during the last few weeks has witnessed a remarkable boost. It is mainly due to people rushing to get their Christmas presents before the holiday’s eve.

This boost was translated into long queues at malls’ and stores cashiers, and unending traffic jams at the entries of the capital and major cities.

Jamil Rayyes, General Manager of Hamra Shopping & Trading, also known as GS, expects retail activity to be very positive especially during the third weekend of December and yesterday. “We are expecting that this positive vibe will continue in our streets during the whole holiday phase, as long as the security conditions are stable.”

He said that despite economic slowdown, people are ready to increase their expenditures during Christmas.

“We are reaching our target figures for this season. We did not set unreasonable ones, but we set high ones compared to the current country state,” he said.

Rayyes said that malls are witnessing good footfall led by locals and expats. A higher number of foreigners is seen during the last few days, he said.

At City Mall, believes this year’s activity is very similar to last year’s. From last Tuesday till yesterday, over 175,000 people visited the mall. “We are expecting higher number to be reached, especially that this year we have one more day till Christmas after the weekend, compared to last year,” said Simon Khoury, the mall’s CEO.

Foreign expenditures is around two percent more than last year. “The figures might improve between Christmas and next week,” said Joe Yacoub, Country Manager at Global Blue. He said that they were expecting between ten and 15 percent growth, which, so far, are not achievable.

Outside Beirut, Other cities, such as Jbeil, witnessed outstanding number of visitors due to the decoration. The Christmas tree of the historic city of Byblos was chosen by The Wall Street Journal to show the most beautiful Christmas trees around the world. Mayor Ziad Hawat said retail activity more than doubled since they installed this year’s decoration: “Retailers are keeping their shops open late at night, and even the F&B outlets have very positive numbers,” he said. He is expecting that this activity will continue till mid-January.
Reported by Rana Freifer
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Date Posted: Dec 23, 2014