Downtown Port of Spain store owners are experiencing a slow shopping season this Christmas.
During a walk-through on Thursday, several store owners and managers shared similar sentiments with the Newsday. The general complaint is that sales this Christmas are even slower than last year's and are expected to plummet even further as covid19 cases rise.
Manager of Radica Trading on Henry Street Kavita Basdeo said sales are nothing compared to how they were before the pandemic. But, she said, despite the slow sales the company has opted to extend its opening hours for the Christmas period. Basdeo said the company recently took in new stock and she hopes this will help generate a last-minute Christmas rush.
Kamini Apparicio, manager of Homeland Furnishings on Queen Street, shared similar sentiments. She said sales have been slower than previous months, far less for the Christmas season. She attributed the drastic dip in sales to the pandemic and the rise in the number of covid19 cases.
Asked about local Christmas traditions, Apparicio said, "Even when people are not going out, they love to see their homes comfortable, that is one thing about Trinidadians."
Children's stores are also seeing stagnant sales. The manager of Cookies n' Cream on Queen Street told Newsday sales were looking grim even before the Christmas season started. She said as covid19 cases rise and people start to feel the brunt of the pandemic, they are prioritising where and what their money is spent on. The manager hopes their new Christmas stock will generate interest and hopefully a last-minute rush. She expects sales to increase as Christmas and pay day draw nearer.
Staff at Trendy Kids on Frederick Street are also hoping for a last-minute rush, as their sales over the last year have slowed down.
Shopper Christina Hinds, 33, of Endeavour, Chaguanas, said she will be taking a different approach to her Christmas shopping this year. Hinds said, "I will be doing some smart shopping this Christmas. I've prioritised my gift list and really had to take a look at who I wanted to give gifts to this year.
"Last Christmas I didn't have anyone over by me, so I'll be repurposing most of my things, like curtains. But covid19 really made me realise who the people deserving of gifts are, so I will be prioritising them."
Rondelle Teselford, 28, of St James, said, "Right now I can't even begin to study Christmas gifts. I need to see about making sure my family can eat something next week. I can't be about that Christmas life this year."
Orland Patrick 49, of Arima Old Road, Arima, said, "This year I'm only buying gifts for my wife and two sons, I'll be using old paint from last year for touch-ups.
"The only new thing I buying this year is bedsheets, but I here looking at what on sale to compare. I've already bought my gifts online, because I don't want to be in this line-up thing with the (covid19) numbers rising so high."