City stores upbeat about sales, promise ‘Black Friday’ specials in Barbados

Stores in The City are hoping for bumper sales for the Yuletide Season, but a leading department store is reporting difficulty in getting its new stock on the shelves due to ongoing disruptions to the worldwide supply chain.

When Barbados TODAY visited The City on Monday, Woolworth’s Managing Director Martin Bryan said the store is currently awaiting stock which should be arriving in containers at the Bridgetown Port this week.

Bryan explained that while sourcing goods has been a challenging task, getting what is available here on time has also proven to be a headache.

By early next week, Woolworth should have all of its Christmas stock in the store, he said.

Bryan told Barbados TODAY: “Some of our stock we already have here. Like all of our toys are in with the exception of games which are coming this week. So, we do have some challenges because of COVID-19 and disruptions to the supply chain. But during this week and early next week, we should have everything here. Our Christmas trees, for instance, that container is coming in tomorrow.”

The Woolworth’s manager used the opportunity to hint at a surprise Black Friday deal in store, as merchants here mimick sales the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States on Thursday.

Bryan said: “Something big will be in store for sure. But we are hoping for a good season. We know Bajans love Christmas and they will be coming out. We understand that the economy is quite tight with the COVID-19 affecting businesses and employment island-wide, but with the tourist season due to be hopefully a good one, we expect that to be hopefully an uptick. But we know Bajans love their Christmas and we are known to be one of the stores they come to for good prices.”

Brand Manager at Duty Free Caribbean, Kay Richards, said the store has received a favourable response to its Christmas catalogue which was launched only a few weeks ago. Richards said shoppers have been viewing the catalogue online and making their purchases at the store’s branches where they have also been picking up a hard copy of the catalogue.

Richards said: “As the word gets around that the new arrivals are indeed here, they are coming in. We would have run a little bit of a campaign for the catalogue where you would have received a free gift with the purchase of select fragrances and if that is any indication, those free gifts are actually all now finished. So that was a very good start to the launch and to the catalogue getting out there to advertise our new arrivals”.

The brand manager said Duty Free Caribbean is banking on good Christmas sales and reported that its branch at the Grantley Adams International Airport has already begun to see an increase in sales as travellers begin to return to the island.

“With 80 per cent occupancy on the island, that of course then adds to all of the traffic that we do see to the other stores around the island,” she said. “So not only at our Bridgetown store but also at the airport and at the other locations around the island, we are seeing an increase in traffic which in turn we [hope] will see an increase in sales.”

Richards also promised a surprise Black Friday deal to shoppers.

At Abed’s Bridgetown store, manager Suzette Layne said the store has already started opening on Sundays for early Christmas shopping. Layne attributed the shortened curfew hours, which have been moved from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m, as one of the driving forces behind an increase in traffic to the store.

Layne told Barbados TODAY: “As you know, Christmas has always been a Bajan holiday, so I find people are now getting into the Christmas mode and they are actually shopping for the curtains as usual and then we have a lot of added extra Christmas items and customers are showing a keen interest in our goods this year.

“We have renovated our Bridgetown store so everything is much more spacious and well laid out and customers are loving it. It is much more comfortable for them because it allows them to social distance properly.”

The store manager said Abed’s normally has an annual Black Friday sale, and this year will be no different.

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