Blue Christmas

Bridgetown businesses lament sluggish sales

With less than a week to go before Christmas, hopes for an uptick in sales are quickly fading for businesses in Bridgetown, who say they are being badly hurt by the increased National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL).

This morning several business owners and managers stated that even though public workers received their salaries today, there had been little change in the circumspection shown by shoppers since the season began.

Several economists, as well as business associations, including the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have long warned that the contentious NSRL, which was raised from two per cent to ten per cent beginning July 1, would result in depressed sales.

General Manager of Woolworth Martin Bryan told Barbados TODAY that shoppers were buying no more than the bare essentials, as spending power had been significantly cut.

Shoppers are buying no more than the bare essentials, as spending power had been significantly cut, says Woolworth’s General Manager Martin Bryan.

“It has not been great, to be honest with you. We haven’t had the kind of numbers which we have grown accustomed to in previous years,” Bryan said.

“Business is certainly down, traffic is down and the spend is down, which is attributed to the NSRL as well as the uncertainty with election in the air. I think it is just the reality of the time because everything has gone up ten per cent and it comes down to being able to meet your needs of food, shelter, clothing and leaving out the things one can do without.”

The business executive further argued that should the current trend continue it would not augur well for business prospects during the lean month of January.

“If this Christmas does not turn out too well then I am not too sure that it augurs well for January. With all of the uncertainty within the economy, as well as the direct hit on your pocket with the ten per cent [NSRL], even though you try to look at it positively the reality is something different,” Bryan said.

His position was strongly supported by street vendor Roger Goodridge, who said that this year “has been the slowest” of the 51 years that he has been selling toys at Christmas time.

Street vendor Roger Goodridge.

“This year has not been good at all. We have been out since November and things have been really slow, and it is not looking at all like the years gone by. You see people passing with their children but they are not spending.

“People have not been working and they have taxes up . . . so while they would still buy toys for their children they have to first pay their bills. As a poor man who has been doing this business as a child with my mother I cannot really pass on NSRL to my customers because if I raise my price it would run my customers,” Goodridge said.

Abeds’ on Swan Street also reported a similar situation, with Store Manager Hassan Towini telling Barbados TODAY that he could only hope and pray that sales ramp up in the next few days.

Abeds Store Manager Hassan Towini

“The Christmas season has been very quiet. We haven’t seen any big crowds in the beginning, only from Saturday we started to see a few more people. Today we saw a few more people starting to spend but I really don’t know if the end will be good to us,” Towini said.

39 Responses to Blue Christmas

  1. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne December 20, 2017 at 12:01 am

    More like a Black Christmas to me.

    • jennifer December 20, 2017 at 9:46 am

      Hasn’t it always been????? Black means darkness and gross darkness too. Have a tequila on me- worm and all.

    • Kevin December 20, 2017 at 9:56 am

      We already have the white man associating black with all things dark, dirty and sullen. Please don’t help them make the word black even more so.

  2. Duane Burke
    Duane Burke December 20, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Mr Towini your boss called for more dialogue when everyone else was warning about the effects of the NSRL. How is that Dialogue working for your store now? It has proven Charles Herbert correct when he said it would be “Pain with No Gain.”, which is exactly what has occurred.

  3. John Everatt December 20, 2017 at 1:35 am

    Obviously the real spirit of Christmas does nto really exist any longer. It all seems to have to do with sending money. Try making a special gift for your loved ones instead of spending on your credit card. Maybe a special Christmas tree ornament or something like that. So sad to see Christmas has come to this.

    • jennifer December 20, 2017 at 9:42 am

      But surely this is a good thing.

  4. Richard Braithwaite
    Richard Braithwaite December 20, 2017 at 3:00 am

    Pain pain pain ..and very little gain ?
    Is there any light at the end of the tunnel ?
    I hope I’m wrong ….
    What say you ?

    • Eddy Murray
      Eddy Murray December 20, 2017 at 5:39 am

      there’s always light at the end of a tunnel, either fading light or sun light. But this one is more a fading light than a bright light.

    • Richard Braithwaite
      Richard Braithwaite December 20, 2017 at 5:41 am
    • Eddy Murray
      Eddy Murray December 20, 2017 at 5:42 am
  5. Saga Boy December 20, 2017 at 3:13 am

    Every year the same foolishness with these merchants NSRL or no NSRL. This is an annual ritual of lies with them. All the Malls busy, Btown, Speightstown and even Holetown busy and they still complaining. Give them a few more days and they will be saying the usual. Hypocrites.

    • jennifer December 20, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Yep. Two way fibbers and no evidence to match.

  6. Bajan Patriot December 20, 2017 at 3:34 am

    I was home in 2016 for Christmas. Its was the most depressing Christmas holiday i have ever experienced. Gone are the excitement of the season. People care more about material stuff than family or traditional Christmas thing’s.

  7. Committed Bajan December 20, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Not just NSRL
    the only country that I know where prices go up at Christmas time is Barbados
    The merchants are too greedy
    Enough Barbadians travel now to know when they are being taken advantage of
    I agree, Leave the people things in the store

    • jennifer December 20, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Well said. Long time. They take the pi$$.

  8. Susan Maynard
    Susan Maynard December 20, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Well it is not a blue christmas for me ,Because i use but what i have i keep my thing very good, my little money will go to the supermarket for food,

  9. Susan Maynard
    Susan Maynard December 20, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Anyone see the prizes of the hams .omg

    • Pat BB
      Pat BB December 20, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Yup, $400 and all….ridiculous

    • jennifer December 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Do u really need one??? Leave them too. Because this people will not stand for anything they r falling for everything. None of this European junk is important or will even enhance anyone’s life spiritually.

  10. Felicia Corbin
    Felicia Corbin December 20, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Well well abeds talking about not seeing shoppers from September people were shopping go in the curtain department they have next to nothing…people were hitting all the sales from early, I was only yesterday telling a friend the you will hear some of the bussiness saying they make no money.

    • Pat BB
      Pat BB December 20, 2017 at 11:14 am

      Only Monday I told my Mom is don’t know bout other stores but a beds can’t complain coz ppl started shopping since September so….I know for a fact that HE LIIIIEEEEE

    • Felicia Corbin
      Felicia Corbin December 20, 2017 at 11:15 am

      So true

  11. milli watt December 20, 2017 at 5:45 am

    every year we go through this, you ask these parasites how it is they tell you a lie continue to poke out yuh eye and march on………..I hope you got room to play a game a cricket, road tennis and hold a concert with room to spare during the next week or so

  12. Sophia Lewis
    Sophia Lewis December 20, 2017 at 5:53 am

    A Star shone in the East and a child was born. We will survive which is why he came. Come for me now if what I have written here is the most heinous ever said. I lived in a country where people gave fruit from their yards and cakes they made from the heart and lived in another…..a big European country where families sat around a table and drank hot chocolate and made, hand-painted the gifts they were giving. It is true that shops must make money to offer a living to their employees but with some real thinking and understanding …there are ways to do this without the unadulterated drive to make life all about money.

  13. Alex Alleyne December 20, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Lower your prices. Come up with “specials”. Put some stuff on sale. Do a “tax-free” week end.
    Be innovated and stop being a “kill-cow”.
    Walk about Bridgetown and take a look at the rotten fruits being thrown all over the place. The vendors rather throw them away than to lower the price and make a sale all because of GREED.

  14. Velma Lovell
    Velma Lovell December 20, 2017 at 7:05 am


  15. Jack Ryan
    Jack Ryan December 20, 2017 at 7:08 am

    This is what I call enslaving the ppl. Pushing the ppl to work harder and give them less. Suffering a nation while they steal millions from the taxpayers. MISS THE DAYS WHEN GOD USED TO SMITE WICKED PPL.

    • Clifford Ward
      Clifford Ward December 20, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Jack Ryan,God does not change,trust me GOD will smite the DLP wicked people,it’s only a matter of time.

    • Rowena Small
      Rowena Small December 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Yes my brother.

  16. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn December 20, 2017 at 7:41 am

    High taxes caused those ham to be more expensive than previous years.Blame the minster of finance.

    • Pat BB
      Pat BB December 20, 2017 at 11:28 am

      And I doubt very much he will be eating a $400 dollar ham come Monday, bout here sounds like Guyana now….damn ridiculous

  17. clint December 20, 2017 at 8:47 am

    If the SNRL is to blame for the sluggish sales at this time. It may be a good thing in waking up our bajan people to the folly of overspending at this time… It seems at xmas time there is no rational thinking to spending among some bajans, sadly to say especially those who are struggling. However, it will still be a merry xmas for business people because as usual, the irrational madrush will start around Thursday.

    • jennifer December 20, 2017 at 9:18 am

      Yep. Well said. This here majority people like this sort of running around rubbish.

  18. Lee December 20, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Stop complaining about the NSRL . . . . the evil we have to worry about is the scarcity of FOREIGN EXCHANGE. Every dollar spent in Barbados requires an average of 80 cents in foreign exchange to import it. PLEASE leave out the extravagances of the Season. THE MERCHANTS WILL NOT STARVE !!

  19. Pat BB
    Pat BB December 20, 2017 at 11:22 am

    BLUE???? Nope, my Christmas gone from orange and gold 3 yrs ago to orange and cream now….
    Who allergic to alternating and have to buy curtains every yr, that is their ignorant business, my money is for what comes first….FOOD!!….and loads of it.

  20. kk December 20, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Everything starts from small, everything begins at home. If parents would stop making children believe from young that christmas is all about material things and receiving them, we as a people would know that at Christmas you buy what you need and not what you want. (e.g. women who have 13 sets of curtains and still buy new ones every year, buying 20 boxes of lights when you know Light & Power going bill you for it). Then there’s this serious misconception that Christmas time is for killing children with house work (why? wunna wasn’t cleaning the house for the whole year?) Yes, you clean, but not to the point where Christmas Day you can’t even lift a finger to put piece o ham in ya mout. Christmas these days should be about enjoying life, cause hear what i telling you backward people that worship Christmas, PEOPLE DIE AT CHRISTMAS TOO!!!! Stop showing off trying to make people feel you got when you know you still got to pay rent and buy bleaching cream. Life is the only thing that we should be looking to improve on, cause is the most important thing that not even a million dollars could replace. Money does come and money does go, when your life is gone int none to replace it. Plus, the people that own the stores is who talking about a blue Christmas, seriously and so many humans in town EVERYDAY?

  21. Helicopter(8P) December 20, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Look here all you talking about black dis and black dat! I can remember K.R Hunte’s nephew walking from Bathsheba to B’town because busfare went up and converting a Transport Board bus into a cottage home. We need to stop wanting what overseas executives and realestate mongules have ! We are Barbadians and live for the betterment of your nation and your youth. Our island is a small island but yet for the purpose of having a job to spend we decide to spend above limits sometimes. Off shore businesses want you to spend on their products but what products are they consuming from us? We must ask ourselves that ! Keep our taylors and seamstresses alive! Buy local lamb, chicken , turkeys, and of course a proper pork. Thjose hotels need rabbit meat we have some of the best textured ask any Tennessean or Georgian. Our French mission if there is one should be exposing our artist’s works and captivating a market. it’s Barbados today and when called uppon to represent do it at its best effort and ability. Love you all!! Merry Xmas

  22. Nol Queen
    Nol Queen December 20, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    People have no MONEY.

  23. Sheron Inniss December 20, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    I stopped celebrating Christmas several years ago. My research does not prove to me that I need to do such so I dun with that. However, I visited a store on St Michael’s Row tonight and there was barely room to walk. The cash registers were going ring a ling ling. The prices of items are terrific too when compared with similar products in other places.


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