SUNBIZ

Stagnant Growth In Retail Sector

The beginning of the year, especially January, was buoyant especially for retailers who stocked up on essential back to school items, association president Vinay Kumar.
05 Jan 2020 14:52
Stagnant Growth In Retail Sector
Retail shops along Renwick road in Suva. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Suva Retailers Association has recorded a stagnant turn out for most of 2019.

The beginning of the year, especially January, was buoyant especially for retailers who stocked up on essential back to school items, association president Vinay Kumar.

He said the months from February to October were stagnant.

“The Reserve Bank in September explained that their figures for 2019 will show a growth of only one per cent in the retail sector,” Mr Kumar said.

“This confirmed that the retail sector for the first three quarters of 2019 was stagnant.”

Diwali period

The Diwali period was not as good as expected because of inclement weather in Suva and, lack of spending by consumers on fireworks and relevant Diwali items, he said.

Mr Kumar said the value of fireworks sold in 2019 were lower than in 2018.

“The retail sector was expecting buoyant Christmas sales which did not eventuate for a few reasons – from the timing of Christmas holidays being in the middle of the week and schools starting on January 13, 2020 which effectively is only seven working days from January 2, 2020,” he said.

According to Mr Kumar, school items were among the top priorities for prudent parents, from as early as December.

“It will be prudent to state that the Christmas sales was not as expected due to a few reasons including TC Sarai, as more citizens take heed of the cyclone warning than ever before and prepare themselves,” he said.

Mr Kumar said more definitive sales figures would be made available by the end of the month.

He said there was a dynamic shift in spending habits following TC Winston.

“Buying habits have been affected.

“People are more conservative now with cyclone warnings.

“No one wants to go out and splurge like before,” he said last night.

He said consumers immediately heeded national warnings issues in the wake of TC Sarai.

“The weather updates and warnings by the relevant Government Departments especially the Met office and NDMO was clear,” Mr Kumar said.

TC Sarai was expected to pass close to Suva in the early hours of Saturday, 28 December, he said.

“After business opened on Friday 27 after the Christmas break, power supply to whole of CBD was intermittent from around 9am until early afternoon,” he said.

Disrupted power supply

Many shops and businesses closed voluntarily because of disrupted electricity supply and to send staff home for safety reasons, Mr Kumar said.

Many consumers did not travel to Suva’s central business district because of inclement weather and cyclone warnings, he said.

“We have to commend the efforts of the Fiji Police Force whose efforts of protecting the businesses and CBD during TC Sarai was well appreciated by the retailers, Mr Kumar said.

He said cyclones impacted more than homes and properties.

“It also affects the local economies when businesses and shops are closed.”

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper