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Shop owners: sales slow

Randy Bennett

Shop owners: sales slow

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FOR MANY STORE OWNERS operating outside the hustle and bustle of the city of Bridgetown, it’s beginning to feel a lot not like Christmas.
Business owners in Speightstown, St Peter and at Sheraton Mall, Christ Church, are largely reporting slow sales in what is usually regarded as a hectic time for Christmas shoppers. Some say sales are only now starting to pick up.
When the SUNDAY SUN visited Sheraton Mall during the past week, most of the bosses interviewed opted to remain anonymous, but several reported slow sales, with the hope that things would improve substantially over the coming week.
Manager of D E Computers Unlimited Inc., Janice Payne, said that although the store had seen an increase in sales of laptops and tablets, business paled in comparison to last year.
She said she hoped that things would pick up as Christmas neared, noting that shoppers usually started their last-minute shopping around December 17.
Jai Dhanraj, owner of Tasha’s Car Accessories, also revealed that things were very quiet, though stating that he “was surviving”. He too agreed that last year sales were much better at this time.
Gifts & Things was an unusual hive of activity. Owner Wendy Tryhane explained that business was in “patches and waves”.
She said that although Sheraton was now opening later than usual, shoppers were not taking advantage of the availability of late-night shopping. However, she expected a hectic period leading up to Christmas.
Despite only being open for a week, Premier by Dead Sea, which sells skin care products, seemed to be attracting much interest from shoppers.
Manager of training, Sagi Bartel, noted that the business was attracting attention from both males nd females. He said that because skin care products usually made great Christmas gifts for females especially he expected sales to rise.
A jewellery store employee also reported that because of the high price of gold and the cash-for-gold business which had spread across the island, sales had “come to a halt”.
The employee said shoppers were choosing to buy silver instead of gold due to the cheaper price, preferring to trade in their gold jewellery rather than purchase any.
Angela Clarke, manager of the popular $3 Store in Speightstown, said that during the last week sales had started to pick up and that she was expecting improvements. She reported that Christmas decorations were a favourite among shoppers.
Andrea Hutson, an employee of clothing store Touch, admitted that “things are a bit slow; there is definite room for improvement”.
She said the store had been “doing good” on a daily basis and she was hoping there would be improvements as the days passed.
For vendor of over 15 years, Dawn Stuart, who operates outside of Courts, sales were not looking good. Stuart, who sells a wide variety of vegetables, explained that through the year sales had not been going well and the Christmas season was no different.
 “Things are slow,” she said. “I will have to wait until next week to see how things really go, but they aren’t looking good at all.”
Meanwhile, another vendor who gave his name as Andrew “Stefano the Fruit Man” said people were cutting back on spending at Christmas.
“Things have changed so much,” he said. “It isn’t like how it used to be a couple of years ago when you used to get a lot of tourists and Bajan Yankees shopping here in Speightstown. People are cutting back. They aren’t spending like before.”