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Halloween brings big profits for Goodwill Hawaii’s nonprofit mission

This article originated from Pacific Business News; written by Lorin Eleni Gill (Reporteer for Pacific Business News); and published Oct 26, 2015, 4:26pm HST

Halloween is more than costumes and candy for Goodwill Industries of Hawaii.

The nonprofit relies on Halloween and the month of October for roughly 10 percent of its annual sales.

“From a business perspective, Halloween is really critical,” says Katy Chen, chief administrative officer for Goodwill Hawaii. “It’s like our retail version of Christmas. We do our biggest sales during October.”

The holiday is also valuable for connecting with new customers who may not know about the Goodwill mission. Roughly 90 percent of the store’s revenue goes to help people with job placement, training, and more.

Last year, Goodwill Hawaii broke a record and grossed $1 million during the month of October. Sales have increased 10 percent over the past couple of years, and executives hope the momentum continues.

Goodwill also goes as far as purchasing new goods to supplement its costume and clothing inventory, just for the holiday, including makeup, masks, and more.

It’s the only time of year when the store invests in new items, Chen said.

“We definitely see the value in it,” she said. “We want to make sure people put together their whole look. We do this massive purchase in the spring. We also look at trends in terms of costumes – zombies are a big trend.”

Customers are encouraged to find a costume and then return it to the store as a donation after the holiday.

Total spending towards Halloween this year will reach near $7 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Roughly 40 percent of consumers begin shopping for Halloween during the first two weeks of October, while a quarter of them wait until the last minute, the federation said.