The cookie index? It’s not some geeky computer jargon or obscure economic catch phrase, it is literally that… a cookie index. As I worked through the tryptophan stupor of the Thanksgiving weekend between football games, every headline from CNN to the local news reported huge gains in Black Friday retail spending…midnight shoppers turn out in record numbers…internet sales are anticipated to make double-digit gains as the holiday shopping season opens. All good economic snippets to be sure but as I settled into work today I opened the Monday edition of the Pacific Business News and there it was, right on the front page…. above the fold! “Corporate gift giving is on the rebound” John Kim, President and CEO of the Honolulu Cookie Company was quoted saying “we are probably close to double the sales volume we did this time last year” referring to his corporate sales division offering the well-known and highly popular pineapple shaped shortbread cookies…plain or chocolate dipped. Mr. Kim, along with many other island retailers, is augmenting his sales staff by 40 people to handle this uptick in the much needed, year end business. Concierge, a Hawaii based company who puts together gift baskets and other seasonal items says the shopping started much earlier this year with corporate orders coming in as early as late September and early October.
Seriously, this may not be advanced economic analysis but it is a signal that Hawaii businesses in general have far greater consumer confidence than they did this same time last year. With an expanding workforce, looser discretionary spending, lower unemployment numbers and the beginning signs of a shifting real estate market we can take the news “cookie sales are up” as a very positive indicator that better times are most definitely ahead of us…..oh yeah and there are no calories in broken cookies so if you want to ship some to me….I am good with that…especially the milk chocolate dipped variety!