Major shopping centres looking forward to Christmas last lap

While the shopping season may have started slowly, many retailers are expecting a last minute rush as it gets closer to Christmas Day.

Store Manager at Wine World Warrens Denise Thorne (right) and customer Michael Brown.
Store Manager at Wine World Warrens Denise Thorne (right) and customer Michael Brown.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY, Manager of Massy Stores Super Centre Warrens Charles Lynch remarked that the season had been “a little bit sluggish” but started picking up in the final week of the holidays.

“Late last week, coming into this week, is when we actually started to see all the crowds coming out for their Christmas shopping, in terms of grocery shopping and stuff like that,” said Lynch.

He noted that while this year’s Christmas sales fell short when compared to last year’s, a jump was expected by the end of December, since there was an additional shopping day this year.

“As it gets closer, we expect that we will have a bumper season this Christmas. We understand some of the folks got paid late and I believe that is the reason for the sluggish start to the season and we anticipate that it will pick up.”

Similar sentiments were shared by the store supervisor of Wine World in Warrens, Denise Thorne, and Claire Harewood, the store manager of Tropicana Jewellers Sheraton. Both reported slow sales, which they attributed to the late payment of wages. However, they anticipated brisker business in the remaining days.

“It’s really starting to pick up now, especially with the Government workers being paid . . . I’m looking for it to get even busier” Thorne said.

Unlike the other businesses, PromoTech Sheraton has been registering good sales from as early as last month, Store Manager Shahadat Mahmud said.

However, Mahmud said he had not seen a last minute rush to purchase gifts.

Operators in the fashion and beauty business also boasted of a steady flow of customers from the beginning of the season.

Nail technician Donna Clarke and hairstylist Simone Thompson of Nailes Beauty Spa said they were fully booked for the month of December. “From month of November for the beginning it was very slow but . . . I guess everybody was doing their home shopping and preparing for the home, and then the last minute they started doing stuff for themselves,” said Clarke.

Thompson in particular has had long days, working through to midnight sometimes due to the numerous appointments and walk-ins.

Varsha Manahtani, owner of Harmony, a popular clothing store, revealed that a steady flow of customers to their flagship store in Swan Street, Bridgetown began in late November and continued throughout this month, with patrons taking advantage of the layaway facility that the store offers.

“People use the layaway plan so when the Government workers are getting paid today we will see a lot of people coming to pick up [their orders],” said Manahtani.

Natalie Clarke, supervisor of Paradise Beauty Supplies, also reported good sales for the Christmas season stating: “I found now as Christmas stepped in, we increased in sales and customers also.”

Although the store caters mainly to a female clientele, Clarke mentioned that even the men were dropping in for the holidays with customers buying mostly makeup, weaves and skin lightening products.

Speaking on her expectations for Christmas Eve, Clarke exclaimed, “Bajans . . . are last minute people so you see Christmas Eve, in here going to be brek back with people.”

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