Ala Moana’s Fukubukuro Mystery Deals

102alamoanaThis week, shoppers at Hawaii’s Ala Moana Center had a once-a-year chance to get outstanding deals if they were willing to take a bit of a risk, as the center held its annual New Year’s Day Fukubukuro event.

Unfamiliar with Fukubukuro? It’s a Japanese retail tradition that goes back about a century. Merchants gather up products into mystery grab bags that are almost always worth at least double their listed price. Shoppers line up around the block at their favorite retailers to start the year off with a great deal.

Dozens of Ala Moana retailers participate in the center’s tradition, and usually find last season’s stock snatched up right ofter opening. Retailers offer a limited number of bags and guarantee the merchandise inside the sealed bags is worth at least twice the amount it’s selling for. And just like in Japan, shoppers line up at opening to secure their surprise goodies.

It’s a festive morning for the center, and Ala Moana ensures that shoppers have fun too. This year it had live performance by Kenny Endo and the Taiko Center of the Pacific to accompany the grab-bag madness.

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