By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
A small food retailer yesterday hailed the extra shopping hours created by the nightly curfew’s pushback to a midnight start for increasing sales.
Travarus Barrow, the Phoenix Supermarket’s general manager, told Tribune Business that trade was starting to pick-up and he feels the “economy is beginning to turn around”. He added that the reduced curfew was making a difference for shopkeepers and consumers alike.
“Since they extended the curfew we are going back to closing up at 10pm today. Things have picked up now; more people are coming into the store and things are looking real good now,” he said.
The later curfew start has allowed merchants and other industries that rely on night-time business an extra three hours of trading. Prior to the extension, Mr Barrow was closing at 7pm due to the curfew starting at 9pm, but the Philip Davis-led administration pushed the start back to 11.59pm with a stroke of the pen as its first act upon taking office.
Mr Barrow now has time to close at 10pm and enable his employees to get home before the curfew starts, but he warned that food price increases are unavoidable for the time being.
“People are saying all the time that the prices are increasing, but there is very little we can do about that now. We do have a lot of specials going on and we try to levy that in certain ways, plus we have our reduced items as well,” he said.
“But the price rises aren’t affecting anybody; they are still coming in and getting what they want. Once Bahamians have made up their mind to get something, no matter if the price has gone up they will get what they want.”
Atwell Ferguson, general manager of the Golden Gates Supermarket, added: “Prices are rising. I can’t say for sure how long they continue to rise, but I can say now that prices have gone up on all goods.
“The extension of the curfew doesn’t affect me to any great extent because we’re still closing at the same time at 8pm. How the curfew was at 9pm, we were closing at 8pm and we have just kept the same time. But starting today we will start closing at 9pm because we have the extra hours.”
Whether or not the extra hour will make a difference will be something Mr Ferguson will “have to find out”, but he is certain that due to the weekend crowds he normally gets, this would be “perfect” for those shoppers. “What we have now are people coming in earlier, but now that they have more time and people are getting off from work later, we will have to extend the time for the weekend,” Mr Ferguson said.