It has yet to begin looking a lot like Christmas for small storeowners in Bridgetown. However there are signs that business is beginning to pick up.
Those who spoke with Barbados TODAY said sales were slower than they had hoped for this time of year, but there was hope because of a steady rise in visitors to the capital.
Owner and operator of His & Hers on High Street, The City, Sunnil Thani said December sales began slowly but he was beginning to see more people coming in.
“We do see the movements of people within town, which is fantastic. At least it is a hopeful start right there. It is a little more movement at this time, compared to the last year season. So we are optimistic that we are going to have a good season this year. We are hoping for the best,” declared Thani.
He said the Bridgetown Revitalization lighting project should also help to increase sales in The City since residents could now shop later while feeling more secure.
“That is a plus right there. They are feeling secure and happy to have this light coming into town, giving us the stores and the vendors also feeling safer.”
Saying the store would normally have specific stocks for the Christmas period, Thani said he anticipated that after schools closed for the Christmas holidays there would be a “rapid movement of people and even purchases as well”.
At WOW boutique also on High Street, one woman who gave her name as Lady London said business had been slow, with people walking in but buying nothing. Yet with two weeks to go before Christmas she anticipated that things would improve.
“I am thinking it should pick up probably next week. Now most customers come in and they go back out,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dawn-Christina Herreira, sales clerk at Glory Kids, a children’s store on Bay Street, said sales this time last year was better.
“But this year it is definitely going to pick up, especially coming down to the later part of December,” she said.
She said sales throughout the year, given the state of the economy, was “a little low” but seemed to be getting better.
However, it was a different tune over at Tifinie’s Discount at the corner of Palmetto Street and Roebuck Street.
Manager and owner Ellen Jno Baptiste told Barbados TODAY last year was “a bit slower compared to this year”.
“So far I can’t complain,” said an upbeat Jno Baptiste, adding that she believed even more people would make their purchases after they get paid this month.
Most people, she said, were coming in to get metal artwork and plaques this season.
“I know we have some days to go but sales not bad. I know people waiting to get their money, whether bonus or wages, but so far so good,” she said.
“God has been good to me. So by the grace of God I am expecting a bumper Christmas. You know how they say a bumper Crop Over, I am expecting a bumper Christmas by God’s grace,” she added.
The store manager also welcomed the Revitalization Bridgetown lighting initiative, saying it would give storeowners and customers a greater sense of safety as they shop after sunset during the Yuletide season.
Meanwhile, the operator of one store that stocks flowers specifically for the Christmas season, said sales were slow at the start of the season and the anticipated upturn had yet to materialize.
“It is nothing spectacular now. Flowers will sell but right now we have more lookers than buyers. It is more like a last minute piece that she will come and buy. [And] they don’t want to buy and put it down, most people will order then come back the last week to get the orders,” pointed out the operator who requested anonymity.