Mixed Christmas sales expectations in St Catherine
Ruddy Mathison, Gleaner Writer
SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine:
A NUMBER of large chain stores and some independent sole traders operating in St Catherine are expressing mixed reactions to the holiday shopping season with just weeks before the official grand market.
Some of the independent store owners who sell mainly furniture, large and small electronics, clothing and grocery items are lamenting the harsh economic conditions that have a majority of people in the parish struggling, a situation they said could impact negatively on their profit margin.
Rohid Gangwani, who owns Universal Electronics in Spanish Town, said coming out of the last quarter, sales were slow and the people are still facing harsh economic times. He said this has affected business this year.
"But we are trying to do our best providing bargains for the people, maybe it will work and maybe it won't ," he said.
Omar Azan, marketing manager of Bashco, which recently opened a branch in Spanish Town, said he is expecting an upturn in holiday sales closer to Christmas.
"The Spanish Town location has opened doors to accessibility for shoppers who would normally have to travel to reach one. And with our 15 per cent discount on a lot of items, I expect to see more people shopping for the holidays," Azan assured.
He said the Bashco chain has brought in a wide variety of goods to suit all income gaps, pointing out that Jamaicans are traditionally late shoppers who wait for end-of-year bonuses before they spend any reasonable sum of money for holiday shopping".
Shantal Mullings, manager of the newly opened branch of Lucky Dollar in the Sagicor Plaza in Spanish Town, is optimistic that the store will do well.
"There is always a deal at Lucky Dollar. It is the culture of the store. We know that the times are very hard, so we structure our business in such a way that the ordinary people can always come in and make a deal with us," she said.