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Malls enjoy joyous holiday season

Americana and Galleria report numbers that suggest shoppers are out spending.

December 28, 2009|By Max Zimbert

GLENDALE — It might not qualify as a Christmas miracle, but sales and traffic around Glendale retail hubs exceeded last year’s numbers, mall operators said.

The Americana at Brand is anticipating its best Christmas season on record in its short history, and the parking lot at the Glendale Galleria has been filled to capacity for seven days leading up to the big day, representatives for the two properties said.

“People are shopping with confidence,” said Jennifer Gordon, a senior vice president with Caruso Affiliated, which owns the Americana. “Stores are optimistic. There’s more traffic in stores than usual and people are very upbeat.”

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The glossy outlook came even as unemployment rates in the region remain relatively high, despite a slight dip for November, state officials reported last week. Several owner-operated shops throughout Glendale have also closed this year, unable to weather the recession.

But as the Galleria and Americana remain a significant pull for shoppers from all over the region, a fact reflected in the heavy foot traffic for the final days of the all important holiday shopping season.

Police anticipated heavy traffic around the retail centers for much of Saturday, and staff at the Galleria said they estimated 100,000 customers were in the mall Christmas Eve. Ten percent of shoppers were expected to finish their holiday shopping on Christmas Eve, according to the National Retail Federation, an industry group.

“We’ve had steady and strong traffic since early November,” said Janet LaFevre, senior marketing director for the Galleria. “We know they are here and getting them to come in is half the battle. Then it’s up to the retailer to close the deal.”

The Galleria did more print advertising this year, LaFevre said, as the 250-store mall opened four new stores in the fourth-quarter.

“Because of the depth and breadth of our stores, we are a one-stop shop for customers, and that’s critical,” she said.

The mall continued its singing Santa tradition, while the Americana set up nightly snowfall and a 110-foot Christmas tree to lure customers.

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