Peso's downfall keeps Mexican shoppers away from U.S. malls
Middle and Upper Class families take pleasure shopping in the U.S.A. Some of them travel once a year to renew their wardrobe, some of them who live closer go there often.
What about the yearly trips to Disneyland? All the pilots and personnel that have been layed off with the closing of our Aerocalifornia? Some families just won't go shopping to U.S. but many don't have an income to go shopping at all this coming holidays.
MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) - Mexicans, who normally spend $2 billion a year shopping in Texas, are staying home as the global financial crisis and a weak peso cut their purchasing power.
Heading to the plush malls of Texas cities like Houston, Laredo, McAllen and San Antonio is a way of life for Mexicans in big northern cities like Monterrey and other towns along the border.
Even some Mexican families as far from U.S. territory as Mexico City and Guadalajara make a once-a-year trip, drawn by cheaper prices and a far greater selection in the United States.
But since economic contagion from the U.S. slowdown and the ensuing global financial crisis hit Mexico, the peso has lost almost a quarter of its value after hitting a high of 9.8 pesos to the dollar on August 4. It fell to 13.8 pesos per dollar on October 22.
While it does not compare to the collapse of the Mexican currency amid the Tequila Crisis, when the peso lost 40 percent of its value in a single week in December 1994, Mexicans today are still getting fewer dollars for their money.
"We've really noticed the Mexicans stopped coming since late August and it's hurting our sales. We used to double our (sales) targets, but not anymore," said shop assistant Miranda Stromley at a half-empty outlet mall near McAllen.
Fewer Mexican vehicles are crossing the Rio Grande, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says. Hotel occupancy rates are down and Mexican car plates, usually outnumbering those from Texas on weekends in McAllen, are few and far between.
"We can't go the United States to buy Christmas toys this year, the dollar is very expensive," said Mexican housewife Esthela Martinez while shopping for toys in Monterrey.