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School shopping warms up

As Bridgetown gears for the annual back-to-school rush expected within coming weeks, one departmental store is already reporting an increase in sales of school items.

When a Barbados TODAY team took to The City to this morning, Woolworth’s managing director Martin Bryan said that when compared to this same time last year, sales on school items were slightly up, especially during the last couple of weeks.

Customers at Woolworth.

Customers at Woolworth.

Bryan said that as soon as Crop Over had ended, shoppers were coming in to buy school uniforms, bags, books, and pens and pencils, among a range of other items.

“This indicates to us that shoppers are happy with what we are offering. But within the coming weeks we are looking to see what happens. In fact, the biggest two weeks are coming up where we are expecting to see that big rush,” Bryan said.

The manager also reported that from monitoring customers as they walked through the aisles of the store, he had observed that shoppers were cost-conscious, coming in with prices from other establishments and comparing them to those at Woolworth’s.

“I can definitely see people budgeting. Years gone by, you would have had someone coming and saying, ‘I want five of this and five of that’. Now it is more like ‘two of this and three
of that’, and they will ‘buy one in November’,” Bryan noted.

A lot of cutting was going on at Abed’s in Swan Street where parents were shopping for fabric to make their children’s school uniforms. Well-coordinated and seemingly prepared employees were kept on their feet as shoppers made their requests.

Staff of Abed’s busy at work.

Staff of Abed’s busy at work.

Also caught up with assisting, along with carrying out his supervisor duties, was assistant manager Richard Holder, who told Barbados TODAY that while much of Abed’s stock had recently been held up in the Bridgetown Port due to the go-slow by customers officers, he was content that customers were still being satisfied.

“We don’t blame anybody; we are just trying to get children back into school. We want the sales, but it is about getting the children into school and keeping Abed’s as number one in school supplies, which is why we are here and what we are doing . . . .

“We have all the material for all the school uniforms out there, and we try as much as possible to have ready-made items for all the schools,” Holder said.

Mother and son looking  for the right school shirt.

Mother and son looking for the right school shirt.

This is also the time of year when stores hire temporary workers to meet demands.

Bryan said that to cope with the back-to-school rush, as usual, Woolworth had hired temporary help to “keep things flowing on the floors”.

“We have university students and some sixth form students we brought in because we know we have a lot more shoppers, and this means a lot more demand on the floors. So this is a good opportunity for them to make some money,” Bryan explained.

Government primary and secondary schools are scheduled to reopen on September 7.

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