Christmas on a budget
Times are tight and businesses are looking for creative ways to attract shoppers this Christmas.
One Bridgetown store manager told the SUNDAY SUN they had slashed prices to meet the pockets of those with “diminished” disposable cash, while others have introduced special promotions and discounts to keep the cash flowing in.
Managing director of Woolworth, Martin Bryan, said they lowered their margins in some cases and were offering discounts “to make sure prices are in line with what people can afford”.
“Right now, as everybody knows, the country is going through somewhat of a large downturn . . . . Today [yesterday] has been kind of busy and we really hope that carries through ’cause November was not that great, truthfully . . . .
“We understand what is going on out there and I think everybody is competing for a diminished dollar, so everybody is being very price-conscious now so I’m hoping, for us anyway, that we should have an okay Christmas,” Bryan stated, adding that people had bigger light and other utility bills.
Cave Shepherd’s Hugh Durant said their Christmas promotion, which started in November, had been stepped up in recent days.
The store has been offering upwards of 20 per cent discounts on special days, and Durant said a surprise was coming this Friday that should make things even better for shoppers.
DaCosta Mannings has stocked up on the electronic and “techie” stuff that is the rage these days. Manager Curtis Rouse said the store was known for small and large appliances and there was a wide selection as well.
In terms of attractions for shoppers, the store has at least three Christmas promotions, one of which is a year of free living for two lucky customers and several smaller prizes.
Rouse said the hire purchase facility was also available so people did not have to spend all their money at once and shoppers “can keep some to buy groceries and whatever”.
The smaller shops and sidewalk vendors are also trying to cash and are already in competition to try and lure shoppers to their stores, tables or racks before buyers reach the larger establishments.
At least two store managers said the recent rain had affected business and were hoping for better days.
Based on the number of people in store aisles and on the busy streets of Bridgetown yesterday, the sales pitches and advertisements are having the desired effects.
For Susan Clarke, who was looking for mats at curtains in a Swan Street store, the tough economic times will not impact on her budget this Christmas.
“Shopping is basically the same for me like other years, because I’m a big Christmas person. So everything pretty much goes on hold so that I can do what I gotta do for Christmas,” she said, adding it included buying gifts and making the sure the house was almost perfect.
Kerri-Ann Haynes-Knight was not of the same mind; she intends to be frugal with what she has.
“I’m trying to be as tight as possible with money, so I’m looking for bargains and things that are reasonable. You want to make the house looks nice [and] make the home feel really comfortable,” she said.
“As shoppers you try to look as careful as possible. Don’t try to overdo, spend a little and enjoy yuh Christmas. Don’t try to spend and reach the Joneses,” Lisa Allsopp advised.
She intends to make do with what she has and still make things special and enjoyable for her two sons.
Sunday shopping got under way last week, and some stores have already extended their hours.