With Christmas Day just three days away, not even heavy showers Thursday morning could stop Barbadians from doing their last-minute shopping, much to the delight of businesses and street vendors.
The popular department store Cave Shepherd on Broad Street, Bridgetown was among those experiencing a flood of late shoppers, with Location Manager Andrew Wilkinson telling Barbados TODAY there had been a boost in sales in recent days and things were sure to get even better over the next two days.
“We are beginning to see an increase in sales for the last few days and as it gets closer to Christmas we even expect to see a bigger increase, Sales have looked very encouraging,” Wilkinson said.
While perfumes were the gifts of choice for most customers, the liquor and toy departments were also conducting brisk business, the store manager added.
Over on Swan Street, Abed’s Store Manager Hassan Towini said sales had picked up steam following a slow start to December.
“The beginning of December started very quiet but we were very optimistic and we started to see the crowd and improvement in our business last week. I find now so far, so good as business is steady. We hope for better.”
In fact, Towini said he expected shoppers, who have been purchasing everything from garments and flowers to decorations, to keep coming in their numbers well after Christmas.
“We expect late Christmas shoppers and that’s what we are saying . . . . After Christmas we are trying to push until the end of the year and maybe we will put some items on sale.”
Unlike Abed’s, Woolworth has been recording good business from the beginning of December, and with items on the shelves early, it had been smooth sailing.
Today’s rain slowed things down somewhat, but it was not much of a worry.
“Early December was pretty good. We had a good running, a lot of people shopped earlier as opposed to waiting at the last minute to get things done, which is better for us.
“Luckily for us we had all our goods out early – decorations and lights were out early, we didn’t have any last minute shipments or delays in the port so we were able to provide customers with all the products they needed,” Managing Director Martin Bryan told Barbados TODAY.
Bryan said December 23 is the store’s busiest day of the year, and he expected no difference this year.
“We are going to be very busy next couple of days. Tomorrow we are opening until 9 [p.m.] like today only because Christmas Eve we close a little earlier,” he said.
Bryan did not give figures, but said there was a major difference in sales this year when compared to last year due to the economic situation.
“I think we are doing quite well to run it even. Having spoken to a few people around I don’t think anyone is reporting an increase in activity because obviously with the current economic situation where taxes have been quite extravagant a lot of people’s pockets have been hit . . . . But Barbadians are still spending.”
In addition to the usual decorations and household items, shoppers have also been purchasing outfits for the various holiday events.
One business place benefiting from the sale of the latest fashion trends is the Bionic Shop, with owner Abraham Naime disclosing that business has been good this Christmas.
“Most of the people in [Queen’s] Park dress from our store and they are usually buying church apparel. I expect that tomorrow it’s going to be very hectic and Saturday,” Naime said, adding that 2015 sales had been better because the economy had impacted business this year.
Nearby, the owner of the Sole Addiction Nancy Noumeh said the Christmas season had been steady, and she expected even more customers up until New Year ’s Eve.
The top selling items, she said, were brand name shoes and Rihanna perfumes.