BAHAMIAN retailers yesterday said sales have began to pick-up in the week prior to Christmas, amid anticipation of a “very busy weekend”.
“The response to our retail Christmas offer has been outstanding. We are so thankful to our subscribers for their continued support of us, and we are looking forward to closing out the season with a bang,” Aliv’s chief business developer, Gravette Brown, told Tribune Business.
Charmaine Daley, manager at John’s Shoes and Accessories on Carmichael Road, said: “It was a bit slow at the beginning of the week, but business has definitely picked up. Sales have continued to climb and we are anticipating a bigger sales margin into the weekend. “We expect Saturday to be extremely busy. We are still getting shipments now to ensure that customers can get what they are looking for.”
Super Value’s owner, Rupert Roberts, told Tribune Business: “I haven’t been looking at the numbers but the stores seem busy, the parking lots are full. There seems to be a lot of customers at the registers. The rush has started. I don’t know how much they are spending but we’re hopeful for a good Christmas.
Edison Sumner, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) chief executive, said: “We haven’t heard any reactions yet from the business community on how Christmas season is going. I think, though, that the sentiments would be largely in line with what we would have seen coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Merchants are having to deal with the challenges in the country with regards to rules regarding Customs duties, the ease of doing business, logistics, moving freight in and out of the country, the challenge of having to face e-commerce platforms and having to battle with some of the other merchants operating in the informal economy.”
He added: “These are areas that the local merchants, especially those operating ‘brick and mortar’ companies, have to deal with on a very regular basis, and we see that when we come into seasons like Christmas that the level of activity really spikes for those in the informal sector.
“We would like to see the ‘ease of doing business’ improve for the companies operating legitimately, so they can sell their services and goods and not have to compete so heavily against all these other entities.”