Bridgetown retailers felt the pinch as shoppers kept their purses closed on Saturday, the last full shopping day before tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Despite the large numbers expected to turn out along the South and West Coasts for the final countdown to 2018, businesses have indicated that sales were not as plentiful.
Rasheeda Nightingale from Cheap and Sweet Boutique in Tudor Street told Barbados TODAY that sales throughout the week had been satisfactory, as a slow but steady flow of customers visited the clothing store to step into the New Year in style.
“Sales are okay but they are not like before,” said Nightingale who added that sales were fruitful during the island’s jubilee anniversary.
She revealed that persons shopped with their budget in mind and were selective with their purchases.
Nightingale attributed this change in spending to the economy, adding that due to the increase in the cost of living “a lot more people are not shopping like they normally would”.
Nevertheless, she was hopeful that a last cohort of shoppers on Sunday would be able to change the tide.
“It’s been a challenge . . . You do have some customers that do the last minute run around so we are hoping that things progress a lot,” she said.
A Gateway Mall store owner also shared similar sentiments that the holiday season had been relatively slow. The store owner who requested anonymity said “things are not like before, like one time . . . persons are just coming and picking up little things”.
Marcia Martindale of Martindale’s pointed out that the excitement and the fervour associated with Old Year’s Night was missing in Bridgetown.
“I’m not seeing the traffic and the energy that you feel over the years and I have been in business for almost 30 years and there has been a big difference this year,” lamented Martindale.
“A lot of people are saying they are wearing what they would have had before and make do with what they have,” she noted while indicating that persons were being cautious with their spending.
Meanwhile, manager of The Men’s Room, Rodney Alleyne informed Barbados TODAY that the males were coming out in their numbers to purchase the finishing touches to their suits even though they were not splurging.
“Different to years gone by, I think the guys have prepared earlier and so you wouldn’t get as many suits being sold as years ago but majority of the guys have their suits already, they are just getting odds and ends like ties, shirts but the main part is already taken care of,” he explained.
Sherry-ann Bourne of Urban Vybz reported a hectic last lap with an outstanding number of sales throughout the day with males and females popping in throughout the course of the day. This was also due to the store hosting a Sip and Shop event. Bourne had high expectations for Sunday with late shoppers.