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Back To School With Little Sales Bump

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

Retailers are holding their breath for a bump in sales stemming from whatever form schools reopen next month.

Uhura Woodside, manager at Nassau Stationers, told Tribune Business that sales have not picked up the way it normally would have in the past, but it is a “little bit more than what it was” compared with recent months and 2019.

“Things are coming, though,” she said. “One school opened up today so we have seen a little increase due to that school reopening.”

“We are not certain of what the government schools are doing. So we have to wait and see.”

The government’s value added tax (VAT) holiday for back-to-school supplies started yesterday and will continue until September 6.

Alannah van Onselen, ShopLocal’s co-director, said: “We are in the heart of back-to-school preparations, and as parents purchase the needed supplies, we encourage them to think and shop local first.

“More than a year after the onset of COVID-19, it is more critical than ever to provide our economy with the reinforcement it needs. ShopLocal and our participating merchants are committed to keeping the message alive and building on our efforts to promote the many reasons why shopping locally benefits us individually and collectively.

“We have launched a social media contest, encouraging people to tag us in their photos of them shopping at local merchants for a chance to win a $250 gift certificate. In addition to our efforts, we are most encouraged by the community stakeholders who have joined this movement.

“Some banks are now offering added incentives to their customers who shop local, and the government has introduced several Vat holidays that encourage shoppers to spend their money at home. We salute these efforts and encourage more organisations to drive home the importance of supporting the local economy by shopping at home by offering incentives and rewards that promote it.”

Donnetta Burnside, store manager at Bahamas Office and School Supplies (BOSS), also said: “It’s a steady flow. I think a lot of persons were busy this morning and were waiting for the VAT free weeks and I think they’re still waiting on an announcement from the minister of education in terms of what method they’re going to use for back to school.”

The Ministry of Education is supposed to make an announcement on how the resumption of the school year is to begin, whether it will be online learning, face to face, or a hybrid.

Ms Burnside added: “It’s not slow, it is a steady trail of people. Some schools are open so it’s good.

“Regardless around this week and next week are our busiest weeks. Government schools, whether it’s hybrid or face to face, they are open in another two weeks.”

Comments

John 5 months ago

First there’s has been no tidiness to schools closing for summer and now preparing to open again for the fall in what many perceive to be ‘ opening already?’ And yes, too soon. So yes students are not ready to go back and I with the surging Covid numbers and the uncertainty of both vaccinations and face to face learning, parents have adopted a ‘wait and see attitude.’ Even though Bahamians are generally last minute shoppers the lack of available funds may also be contributing to the lull in shopping. And of course, some parents are now pandemic experienced shoppers. So rather than rush out and do crazy back-to/school shopping, only to find out schools will not open face/to/face, then they have to turn around and purchase tablets or smart phones and data, they shop on a ‘as the need arises’ basis. But there may br shortage of some items in a few weeks along with ‘sticker shot’ as the prices of many goods coming out of China have increased and, in some instances, the freight costs have doubled. So it may br another lackluster year for retailers and a preview as to how Holiday Shopping 2021 will be. Many stores may opt to discount old merchandise rather than stocking up on new inventory at higher prices.

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