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The Summer Season: As Tourism Recovers, Travelers Hit the Malls

America is in the middle of its annual summer migrations, and the good news for retailers is that many tourists have their credit cards out.

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“Unlike the coastal beach areas, we love rainy Saturdays and Sundays. That’s when we see our record crowds,” she said. However, the rain — or economy — has made locals hold off booking hotels until the last minute and scout for deals.

But even nasty weather couldn’t prevent Canadians from capitalizing on a weak dollar. They’ve come across the border in bargain-hunting droves, Glover said. “Canadians have become a very prime demographic for us.”

At L.L. Bean — whose 24-hour, 120,000-square-foot emporium anchors Freeport’s retail — July transactions were “in line with expectations, about even this July to last,” said a company spokesman. The big improvement came about 18 months ago, when he estimated the region cast off its post-9/11 slump.

Despite doing a brisk business in heavyweight rain gear in June, spring sales overall were off, he added.

“We count on good weather in early spring to get people into the mind-set to book a trip,” he said. “With summer so slow to arrive, people tended to postpone. It’s only in the last few weeks we’ve seen things come back.”



NEW YORK

No doubt the most devastated by Sept. 11, 2001, and ensuing terrorism fears, New York City tourism has seen a pickup in the past year, according to retailers and NYC & Co., the city’s official tourism and marketing organization.

Macy’s has seen “a definite increase” in international shoppers, especially from Japan and other parts of Asia, as well as from Europe, compared with last year, a company spokeswoman said. Many Asian shoppers are finding their way to the Herald Square flagship, after watching New York Yankee Hideki Matsui play at Yankee Stadium, the Macy’s spokeswoman said.

They and other tourists are passing by the flagship’s visitors’ center for information about Broadway shows and restaurant reservations. They’re also presenting their passports to get a special discount card for shopping at that location.

Macy’s current bestsellers include miniskirts, cargo pants, American Rag vintage-looking T-shirts and sweatshirts. Any sportswear or accessories imprinted with initials; fine watches and fashion styles, and travel bags from Phat Farm and Timberland are other top performers.
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