Less shopping, but parties still on for New Year

With the eco­nom­ic down­turn con­tin­u­ing in 2018 and mas­sive job loss­es across en­er­gy and oth­er sec­tors, it’s no sur­prise that most peo­ple are not spend­ing mon­ey to ring in the New Year.

Checks across main shop­ping ar­eas in­di­cate that peo­ple are walk­ing in­to stores and brows­ing but not a lot of them are buy­ing.

At Zra­da in Ch­agua­nas, sales clerk Alyssa said 2018’s end of year sale is the worst she has seen in her four years at the store.

“It is much slow­er than pre­vi­ous years. Peo­ple are more com­ing in for work clothes, or just to browse and if they do de­cide to buy, they want the cheap­est pos­si­ble item,” she said.

Most cus­tomers, she said, spent a max­i­mum of $200.

“We have tops from $89. Those are the most pop­u­lar right now be­cause peo­ple are stay­ing away from the pieces that are more cost­ly. I think it’s be­cause of all the job loss­es and then those floods that hit so many peo­ple very hard. Peo­ple just don’t have mon­ey to spend on new clothes.”

At Fash­ion Icon, al­so on the Ch­agua­nas Main Road, Sherene, the store’s man­ag­er echoed Alyssa’s sen­ti­ments.

“Com­pared to years gone by, it is re­al­ly slow. Peo­ple are not ask­ing for any­thing spe­cial, most of the time they want work clothes to start of the new year with,” she said.

Gras­set­to Fash­ion’s em­ploy­ee Bet­ty Ali, where par­ty dress­es are priced be­tween $300 to $375, said: “This is the on­ly year we haven’t got­ten a rush of shop­pers. I am hop­ing it will pick up by Mon­day when peo­ple start do­ing their last minute shop­ping but for now, it’s very qui­et.”

At Top Chic, an­oth­er pop­u­lar ladies cloth­ing store, sales clerk Neisha said there is not much de­mand for par­ty dress­es.

“Peo­ple are more look­ing for ca­su­al stuff, like jeans and tops. They aren’t re­al­ly buy­ing the dress­es yet this year,” she said.

“Some peo­ple will come in and once they see some­thing they like and want, they will buy it. We are still get­ting the ones who want the cheap­est items but not that much.”

She is hope­ful though that by Mon­day, sales will pick up, not­ing: “You know how Tri­nis like a last minute.”

Cunu­pia res­i­dent, Sal­ly who was shop­ping with her 15-year-old daugh­ter, is de­ter­mined not to ex­ceed her bud­get for clothes.

“We are not go­ing out but we will be ring­ing in the new year at home with fam­i­ly,” Sal­ly said.

Al­though she was not af­fect­ed by this year’s dis­as­trous flood­ing, Sal­ly is watch­ing her spend­ing close­ly.

“The most I want to spend on a top is $120 and the same thing goes for a jeans, I don’t see the need to spend any­thing more than that,” she said.

An­oth­er shop­per, Kristy, said while was search­ing for the per­fect dress to ring in the New Year, she has had to rein her­self in.

“The prices are a bit too much right now, I could buy it but when Jan­u­ary rolls around what am I go­ing to do? And the thing is, most dress­es that I would choose, can’t re­al­ly be worn on non-par­ty oc­ca­sion, so I guess I will have to look for a nice top and jeans,” she said.

- by Sharlene Rampersad. Photo by Nicole Drayton.

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