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Businesses still assessing Christmas sales

Businesses still assessing Christmas sales



Christmas was good for many businesses, but the question being asked by the Chamber of Commerce is whether or not this is true reflection of the state of the economy.{{more}}

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT, President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Jerry George said that while many businesses may have had good performances over the festive season, this isn’t uncommon, and cannot be used as a true measuring rod of people’s financial situation.

“What happens in February and March, when many are saddled with debt? It is then you will really get a true indication of how things are in the economy,” George said.

Several business houses told SEARCHLIGHT that they were pleased with the way things turned out.

“We did excellent business. A lot of furniture; furniture did very well,” said Branch Manager of Courts, Patricia May.

May said that appliances and all other products also did well, and at an initial glance, this season was better than last year’s.

This view was also expressed by Y De Lima’s Annette Gibson, who told SEARCHLIGHT that she knew that more cash was circulated in the country because of the amount of cash sales that she saw.

“I sold a lot of items cash, instead of credit. People preferred to buy items cash rather than go into debt,” Gibson said.

Leanora De Freitas of Edwin D Layne and Sons said that all was well, except for delays that were experienced at Customs, as adjustments to the new Asycuda ++ system continue.

“The problems with getting goods cleared on time meant that some goods got to the store late. Thank God Vincentians like last minute shopping,” said DeFreitas.

Sunday night shopping continues to be a grand success, she also noted.

Webster Crichton of Bonadie’s Supermarket also reported a good showing during the season, but he, too, was also affected by delays at Customs.

He noted that hams sold out earlier than usual this year.

P.H. Veira Supermarket also had a good showing, after what Supervisor Donna Davis described as a slow start.

She too identified some problems with the Asycuda ++ system at Customs, saying that it caused the supermarket to be out of hams the Sunday before Christmas Eve. However, when the hams did reach the supermarket, they sold quite well up to Christmas Eve day, she said.

Davis, however, believes that things would have been much better if wasn’t for increases caused by VAT.

Neville Greaves also noted that the Christmas season was good. He said that while he could not identify any marked increase in shopping activity, as is normal, people shopped for Christmas.

Meanwhile, Luke Boyea of Aunt Jobe’s supermarket told SEARCHLIGHT that while he noticed activity, it was too soon to see what the real bottom line was going to be.

“Busy doesn’t always mean a better bottom line,” Boyea said.

But the positive reports are not a surprise to the Chamber’s President.

He said that the shopping culture at Christmas remains, so generally businesses will see good business.

“Many people close their eyes and shop at Christmas,” George said.

“The key is what happens when things settle down,” George said, noting that this will be a whole different proposition.

Meanwhile, when SEARCHLIGHT contacted the Customs and Excise Department for a comment on the difficulties some business places experienced with the new system, we were told that all top management personnel were on a leadership retreat.