Retailers report sluggish back to school sales

Bridgetown retailers are reporting sluggish business as Barbadians shop for the new school term which will commence on September 12.

Store Coordinator at Cave Shepherd Broad Street, Mark Clarke told Barbados TODAY whereas customers in previous years would have bought five uniforms, they are being more conscientious in their purchases.

“We are seeing fewer customers and in some cases, the customers are not purchasing as much as they were last year,” Clarke said.

Cave Shepherd is one of the retailers that have removed the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) at cash point in an effort to ease the burden to consumers.  However, consumers have not been coming out in their droves for the back-to-school season.

Store Coordinator of Cave Shepherd Broad Street, Mark Clarke

The popular retail duty-free shopping store says it is offering discounts on school uniforms and supplies to drum up sales.

“Most people shop after Crop Over and with the percentage off school uniforms we are looking to have an influx of customers between the 25th and the 31st August,” Clarke noted.

Retailers such as Woolworth and Shopper’s Paradise have also been offering discounts.

Store Owner of Shoppers Paradise Kiran Venasimaz said that 45-year-old retail store is trying to accommodate the needs of their loyal customers. She also revealed that some consumers started their shopping early by applying for layaway plans at the end of the previous school term.

“It has been great because we haven’t increased our prices from last year and we have given them discounts on school bags because we know it is very tough for parents right now so we’re trying to help each and every family to be able to help their children go back to school dressed very nicely and have all of their needs,” she explained.

Owner of Shoppers Paradise, Kiran Vensimaz

Managing Director of Woolworth, Martin Bryan, noted that shoppers are being more cost conscious, opting to browse for cheaper alternatives and purchase fewer items.

“The NSRL has certainly affected everyone so people are definitely budgeting. Whereas before you might have bought five and four uniforms now you are buying two and three,” he said.

Managing Director of Woolworth, Martin Bryan

Although his Prince William Henry Street store has seen a steady flow of customers, Bryan noted that people are shopping with a discerning eye.

“People are shopping around and people are seeing what you have to offer,” he said.

Meanwhile, supervisor of Shoe Locker, Jacqueline Maloney, noted that although the shoppers are feeling the weight of hefty taxation, they have no choice but to purchase the necessities.

“The situation is people want shoes so even though the situation is that the shoes might be more expensive you are still finding people who will buy the shoes. It is a necessity so what are you going to do,” she said.

Jacqueline Maloney, supervisor of Shoe Locker

5 Responses to Retailers report sluggish back to school sales

  1. Alex Alleyne August 26, 2017 at 11:51 am

    ALL OVER THE WORLD YOU CAN SEE “TAX FREE WEEK ON BACK TO SCHOOL ITEMS” . You guys so “GREEDY” you won’t do such but got the gall to talk about “SLUGGISH BACK TO SCHOOL SALES”.
    Dig your own grave , Bajans can no longer stand being “TAKEN TO THE CLEANERS”.

    Reply
    • jennifer August 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      Well said Alex, all over the world half price etc. Many people I have spoken with say that they will be cutting back in all areas of spending since this alphabet levy. Who can splash out continuously will do so. Everything in Barbados was set up wrong since so called indepenDANCE (joke). People need to get themselves out of both governmental and MERCANTILE strangulation.

      Reply
  2. Peter Brathwaite August 26, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    You can only have a “TAX FREE WEEK ON BACK TO SCHOOL ITEMS” with the approval of the Government. The retailers do not have the right or the authority to waive taxes such as VAT and NSRL, only Government can do that.
    In other countries where you get a “TAX FREE WEEK ON BACK TO SCHOOL ITEMS” the country or state government would have given permission for Sales Tax, VAT or other taxes to be waived for the week. It is usually a joint initiative on the part of retailers and government to assist parents with the back to school necessities. Our Government does not appear to be interested in supporting such an initiative.

    Reply
  3. Alex Alleyne August 26, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    @Jennifer, we people just don’t understand “WE” do have economic Power.
    It’s our $$$$$ they need.
    Make them feel it where it matters most……..in their bank account.
    Stop telling the Supermarket “we can’t eat the Money”. They too will have to fall in line or SUFFER.
    Is it because we live “outside too long” ????? that 2 of us think so ??????.

    Reply
  4. Saga Boy August 26, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Same foolishness at xmas, at Easter, at independence, just before school starts, at koodooment and yet they in business all this time. Sick and tired of the lies and exploitation. Thank God for the Internet. The next few years as people become more internet savvy and as more consumers been to use the Internet the playing field will become more level.

    Reply

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