While Americans celebrate their country’s 238th birthday with fireworks, cookouts and parades, many Chinese visitors will be at the nation’s retail outlets for Fourth of July sales.
“We’ve noticed an increase this week in calls from Chinese shoppers inquiring about 4th of July sales,” said Jim Anderson, marketing director of Fashion Outlets of Chicago. “Many of our retailers started their Independence Day sales already and the deals continue throughout the holiday weekend.”
A manager at the upscale-luxury South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, who asked her name not to be used, said: “We do see an increase of Chinese tourists during Independence Day, especially the independent travelers.”
Fourth of July brings big sales to New York. “Short-term four-day travel packages, especially ones with Woodbury Common on the route, have become really popular recently because of all of their sales,” said to Jasmine Xu, assistant manager of EWorld Tours, one of the largest Chinese-owned travel agencies in New York.
Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, located in Central Valley, New York, about an hour and a half outside of Manhattan, has 220 high-end stores and is owned by Premium Outlets, a subsidiary of Simon Property Group. For this Fourth of July, Woodbury’s sales will run from July 3-6, offering an additional 25 percent to 65 percent discounts on top of their every day savings on brands like Armani, Fendi and Burberry. All stores at Woodbury will also extend their opening hours by one hour during the sale.
“On Monday, we had 15 Chinese groups visit our Woodbury outlets, and on the first day of our sale, there are more than 20 tour groups of Chinese shoppers registered today,” Jean Guinup, Simon’s northeast regional vice-president of marketing, said on Thursday. “We may see even more than that, and it’s the same on all the Simon Premium Outlets on the East Coast and West Coast,” Guinup added.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of Chinese people going to Woodbury during Independence Day, based on the experience of last year,” said Laurie Heller, marketing manager of Coach USA Short Line. “More of them come especially during times when there are big sales, like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.”
“I got to know about the huge sale happening there and decided to go and shop local brands in the US like Coach, Tommy Hilfiger and Juicy Couture,” said Wang Xinji, a Chinese tourist from Shanghai, who was waiting with her boyfriend at the Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan for the shuttle bus to Woodbury Common on the first day of the sale.
“Every national holiday in the US there will be an increase of Chinese tourist taking our shuttle and go to Woodbury,” a staff member of Coach USA Short Line said, on condition of anonymity.
The Chinese shoppers’ spree not only takes place in exurban outlets, but also in the city, especially downtown New York. At Saks Fifth Avenue, Rita Bai and Rayna Liu, two young ladies from Beijing, were carrying five full shopping bags as they came out of the Chanel store. “I bought some cosmetics from Clinique, and a bag from Chanel,” said Rita.
“We’ve been experiencing a huge increase in Chinese customers during the Independence Day sale,” said Tara Greco, a Gucci sales associate at Saks.
Heley Bai, a Chinese student who goes to college in Massachusetts, took her mother to Macy’s department store on Herald Square on the second day of her visit to the US. “We actually plan to go shopping at Woodbury during Independence Day because there’s a big sale there,” Heley said. “As for Macy’s, we’re just checking it out.”
“We are going to the biggest outlets in the US tomorrow,” said Zhi Yuemei, who is here with her husband for two weeks and a budget of $10,000 for shopping. “We’re going to buy Nike, Clinique, North Face and Bottega Veneta bags.”
Lilibeth Nunez, a service associate at Louis Vuitton, said, “LV doesn’t get particularly many Chinese shoppers, because they come here for sales and we don’t do that.”