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New Location Drives 80% Of December Sales Rise For Aid

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AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRIAL DISTRIBUTORS (AID).

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

A major Bahamian retailer yesterday revealed that its newly-opened Blue Hill Road and Coconut Grove store was responsible for 80 percent of the December sales increase seen in Nassau.

Jason Watson, Automotive Industrial Distributors (AID) president, told Tribune Business that total Nassau sales were up 15.6 percent year-over-year for the month with its latest location opening on December 6 following a multi-million dollar redevelopment.

“December sales in Nassau were up 15.6 percent. Roughly 80 percent of that increase was due to operations at the new Blue Hill Road store,” he said in e-mailed replies to this newspaper’s questions.

“Christmas season sales went well, especially in Nassau, as total sales were record highs for November and December. AID opened two new locations in Nassau during 2021. The Baillou Hill and Coconut Grove location made a significant impact on sales despite not opening until December 6.

“Sales in Georgetown were also good but sales in Freeport were sluggish compared to 2019 and 2020. COVID is definitely disrupting businesses again in the new year.”

The second of the two new locations referred to by Mr Watson is AID’s Harbour Bay outlet, the retailer fulfilling its long-standing ambition to establish a presence in the East Bay Street-based shopping plaza with the February 1 opening of a 5,500 square foot space next to Logo’s Bookstore. Its main Wulff Road store gives it three sites in Nassau.

“The space was available, and I always wanted to get a location in that area,” Mr Watson explained at the time. “A lot of customers that go there would never find themselves going to Wulff Road, so we wanted to open a store there and the space was available. In the Mall [at Marathon], we have a lot of customers that go there but do not come to Wulff Road.”

The AID president, meanwhile, pledged that the retailer’s product selection will be far greater in 2022, but warned consumers not to expect any relief on price until the global supply chain crisis eases.

He added that much depends on when the US will cease providing the COVID-19 relief that is encouraging persons to stay off work, and Chinese manufacturing receiving some relief from the draconian pandemic lockdown measures that Beijing has increasingly implemented in recent weeks.

“AID’s product availability will be much better in 2022, but consumers will not see pre-pandemic prices again until inland freight in the US and ocean freight from Asia are significantly reduced,” Mr Watson told Tribune Business.

“Freight quotes from Asia to Nassau are the same now as they were during the peak season, and although rates from Asia to the US have declined significantly they are expected to remain relatively high for months to come.

“As long as the US government continues to provide workers with COVID-19 relief, and as long as China continues its impractical COVID-19 zero tolerance policy, supply chain bottlenecks will continue to cause rising prices for Bahamian consumers.”

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