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.