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Customers Avoid Old Shopping Areas

Date Posted: 2000-02-27

According to a survey conducted by the Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper and Okinawa Bank, the number of customers in the islandís shopping malls and arcades has declined sharply. 66% of the 130 shop owners and managers who took part in the survey said they have fewer customers now than five years ago.

The survey also found that the arcades and malls have fewer tenants and more vacant shops than they had five years ago.

The biggest reason the shoppers are absent is the lack of parking space in the vicinity of the central city area shopping arcades. The customers have chosen to crowd the many giant shopping malls offering plenty of parking space that have opened outside the cities over past few years. The survey also concluded that the owners of the smaller shops that are located in the older shopping arcades are not aggressive in promoting their businesses.

The customer base of these shops consists mostly of housewives, students and senior citizens; in other words, people without cars.

Things look much brighter outside the Okinawa main island. In Miyako and Yaeyama, the number of customers is up 45 percent from five years ago.

The biggest problem areas are arcades inside the cities of Naha, Okinawa and Nago. But instead of doing something, shop owners in those areas blame their decline on the competition posed by the new large shopping centers. When the survey asked the participants whether they had done something concrete in order to attract more customers, 70 percent said NO!

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