By Lara Ozaki
Guam offers abundant space for retail industry growth, and existing market leaders are
staying strong in attracting customers from all demographics. Some are focused on improving accessibility and convenience, others strategize on the ideal tenant mix, and all implement various forms of promotions, events and campaigns for not only attraction but retention.
Guam’s shopping malls have consistently been popular outlets for shoppers, but the island has seen an increase in commercial buildings with retail space and smaller shopping squares even outside of central villages.
Recent developments include:
- Phase II of the Camacho Landmark Center, which broke ground in June and is
expected to take around 10 months of construction by 5M Construction. The 21,000-square-foot, two-story building will have 14 commercial spaces on each floor. Discussions with several interested tenants are ongoing, and the first floor will be available for retail businesses.
- Yu Property Commercial Building, scheduled to be completed by mid-2017 in Maite, with 16,800 square feet of commercial space. StayWell Insurance will be the anchor tenant, but the three other spaces are still available.
- The 10,000-square-foot Matson building being built in Anigua will have around 4,600 square feet available for lease. The building is scheduled to be completed in May, for a June move-in date.
- Mangilao Plaza, on Route 10 is expected to be completed by March, and will have 12 units at 1,000 square feet each.
- Larger stores are also growing with the expansion of major department store Macy’s and the addition of a second Ross Dress for Less at the Micronesia Mall.
Guam Premier Outlets and Tumon Sands Plaza launched a free shuttle bus service for shoppers on Jan. 20. Monte D.M. Mesa, general manager of GPO and Tumon Sands Plaza says the addition has increased shoppers to both locations, especially the Korean tourist market.
“This year will be a record year for Korean tourists. Based on exit surveys from GVB,
more than 80% of Korean tourists to Guam visit GPO,” he says. Of all Japanese tourists, 55% visit GPO.
“Most of the Japanese tourists are using tour company provided shuttles. This year we launched our shuttles to ensure that all people that are going to shop can lessen their travel time between GPO and Tumon Sands Plaza,” Mesa says.
Two busses purchased from and operated by Net Tours provide the transportation between the two shopping centers with one stop at the Pacific Islands Club. The buses carry up to 38 passengers each and are available every 15 minutes at both locations. The first bus of the day arrives at the GPO entrance near the Ross Dress for Less at 8:45 a.m. The first shuttle from Tumon Sands Plaza begins at 10 a.m. The shuttles run throughout the day and end at 9 p.m. for GPO and 10 p.m. for Tumon Sands Plaza.
T Galleria by DFS also operates its own shuttle service. It operates 10 a.m. – 11:15 p.m. every 20 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on the direction. One is northbound to Hotel Nikko Guam and one southbound to Hilton Guam Resort & Spa.
“We also have tour busses circulate here,” says Keiko Nishida, consumer marketing manager of DFS Mid Pacific Division. Busses from Lam Lam Tours & Transportation, JTB Corp., PMT Guam Corp. and HIS Guam Inc. stop at the store every day. The DFS store’s main customer base is tourist visitors at around 90%, and Nishida says it’s important for them to be able to have ample transportation for shopping. DFS is also located at a convenient location for tourists, in the middle of the Tumon hotel strip.
Accessibility includes parking.
“We’ve never had a problem with parking,” Nishida says. This is most likely due to the higher number of customers who walk or take a shuttle bus.
Parking is important for businesses with local customers, however.
Micronesia Mall added around 30 new parking spaces in June outside the expanded Macy’s store, with the opening of its first level.
“In all our years of business, we’ve never put any businesses in the surface parking area,” says Phillip M. Schrage, senior vice president of group operations and leasing for Goodwind Development Corp. and Grandview Development LLC, which does business as Micronesia Mall and Tumon Bay Mall. “Parking is the lifeblood of any shopping center.
You have to maintain sufficient adequate parking.”
Schrage expects increased foot traffic from residents and tourists with the addition of Ross Dress for Less and the expansion of Macy’s.
“We’re getting cost estimates for adding more levels to our south parking garage, which is the parking space closest to the Ross and the movie theater. Structurally we can add two more levels to the currently four-level structure to total six,” Schrage says.
Targeting all shoppers – and their children
Larger malls and shopping centers typically attract a variety of customers naturally, but businesses often take separate measures to appeal to families with children.
“We have a pretty good representation across the board. Families are our target, both visitor families and local families. That’s why the strollers we provide for free are always out all day,” Mesa says.
GPO aims to attract families, and Mesa says one of the popular attractions is the free play area in the middle of the mall. Many visitor and local kids play while taking a break from shopping.
“The best businesses anywhere on Guam are the businesses that can deliver to all three markets — the tourist market, military market and the permanent resident market,” Schrage says. At Micronesia Mall, he says stores such as Foot Locker, Vitamin World and children’s play areas do well in all three markets, along with the anchor stores such as Macy’s and Pay-Less Supermarkets.
“We get people from 3 to 90 [years of age]. I think older people are comfortable paying bills and doing their shopping here, and they’re used to us being here for 40 years. And I think the younger people are starting to discover that we’re a little bit hipper and ahead of the curve than they understand,” says Charles T. McJohn II, marketing manager of Agana Shopping Center.
Lollipop & Café at the Micronesia Mall features a play space and a café so both parents and children can enjoy.
“We have a recreational play area where parents can sit down and have a snack and have some coffee while watching their kids play,” Schrage says. The Micronesia Mall also has an indoor amusement park and game center — Funtastic Park — which spans 30,000 square feet.
McJohn believes offering a variety in tenant mix is crucial in attracting a variety of customers. Agana Shopping Center has 74 tenants, ranging from telecom stores, restaurants, a grocery store, a tattoo shop and a movie theater.
“It’s easy to sell out to brand names, but I think it’s important to offer a diverse array of choices for customers. You should appeal to every customer,” McJohn says. “We look at really rounding out our tenant mix.”
Promotions and events
“Events are essential,” McJohn says. Agana Shopping Center holds more than 100 events a year, including space rented to outside businesses that hold events at the shopping center.
“We’re known on Guam for being what our owner calls a community shopping center — meaning that everyone should always feel comfortable and we should always represent the community well with events and with how we market ourselves,” McJohn says. “That’s really been our motto for 40 years.”
Agana Shopping Center aims to be a place where the community wants to go and can feel comfortable. McJohn says events help in creating memories for customers of all ages.
Last year, in anticipation of hosting the Festival of the Pacific Arts this year, T Galleria held the Festival of Trees in November to represent 28 nations that participated in FestPac. Elementary students decorated ornaments with the theme of the country for each tree.
“It was a great opportunity for students to learn about the history and culture of each country,” Nishida says. These events involving the local community can attract shoppers that normally do not shop at DFS, she says.
In addition to two annual sales, T Galleria holds seasonal events and themed events, as well as promotional sales to match visitor countries’ holidays, such as Chinese New Year, Japanese Obon and Korean Chuseok.
Micronesia Mall holds an annual giveaway event, which started in 1989. The 2016–2017 Rideaway Flyaway Game is partnered with Triple J Auto Group and features three 2017 vehicles. Drawings will be held in November, February and May for the promotion starting late August until end of May next year.
Among the prizes are 30 roundtrip tickets to Manila courtesy of Philippine Airlines and more than 10,000 instant prizes including prizes from Foot Locker and a national fast food chain.
“It used to be you’d see a lot of ladies at the games because they shopped more, but lately you see a lot of military finalists and younger men and older men as finalists,” Schrage says. “I’m glad other demographics see the value in playing the game and shopping at the mall.”
The promotional events are advertised widely in mass media and social media to reach a wide range of audiences. Schrage says it is a very high impact promotion because of the value of the prizes and the duration of the promotion, which runs for 10 months.
“Anyone can win, as long as you’re over the age of 18. Winners have been anywhere from college students to retirees,” he says.
Agana Shopping Center also uses a lot of Social Media marketing to engage with customers.
“We are the foremost social media savvy mall on Guam,” McJohn says. With more than 25,000 likes on its page, the shopping center largely uses Facebook for its social media campaigns, he says.
“We’ve broadcasted events live and we’ve been the leading authority of online contests to
win shopping sprees here,” McJohn says. Agana Shopping Center also uses Instagram and Twitter, but McJohn says Twitter has been more difficult in the Guam market.
“It’s a tougher egg to crack on Guam. There’s no celebrity culture on Guam. Even the popular people, we’re all friends here,” he says.
GPO uses online campaigns for coupons and instant rewards, received well by local shoppers.
“A lot of our social campaigns are for instant rewards, like for gas coupons or gift
certificates,” Mesa says. “That’s how we’ve been able to get people to interact with us locally. The visitors are not as responsive with the promotions but they pay attention because they’re always looking for stores with additional store coupons.”
New payment methods
Macy’s is the first store in Guam to offer Apple Pay, says Ryan F. Torres, vice president and store manager of Macy’s Guam. The service launched last fall, allowing customers to pay without cash or credit card by simply setting their Apple phone on a customer signature unit and providing a pass code.
Others in the Guam market are slower to adopt mobile payments.
“Everyone is so cell phone savvy I’m sure it will get there, but [mobile pay] is such a foreign thing to us here,” McJohn says. “There’s also that divide with Apple Pay and Samsung pay. Credit cards are credit cards — everyone scans the same way, everyone operates the same way, and that makes it universal. But until Apple and Android figure out a way to get along, I don’t think it’s going to fully catch on.”
Banks on Guam have gradually been replacing classic magnetic strip cards with EMV chip-enabled credit cards. To encourage the adoption of chip technology, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express implemented an Oct. 1, 2015, deadline for merchants to get EMV card readers. Merchants that have not adopted chip-enabled acceptance technology are now held financially liable instead of card issuers for in-store fraud that could have been prevented with the use of a chip-enabled acceptance device.
“They’re still swiping,” Mesa says. “Eventually all the stores will have it, but not everyone yet has converted their cards. I haven’t received my cards with the chip.”
Mesa expects EMV card implementation will follow card replacements by local banks.
CAM5 Real Estate LLC broke ground on the second phase of the Camacho Landmark Center on June 29. The two-story, 21,000-square-foot commercial center fronting Marine Corps Drive in Tamuning will have seven commercial spaces on each floor for retail shops, eateries, health care offices or professional offices.
Photo by Jackie Hanson
IP&E’s Foody’s is scheduled to open by mid-October at the former Burger King location of the food court at Guam Premier Outlets.
Photo by Lara Ozaki
Retail outlets consider promotional events to be crucial to sales as well as connecting with customers. Pictured is the First Class Beauty promotion throughout August at the T Galleria by DFS.
Photo by Lara Ozaki