THE depressed state of the economy is hurting the business community, says President of the San Fernando Business Association Daphne Bartlett.
Speaking to the Express on Monday, Bartlett said that the information she has received is there being a drop in Divali sales during a period in which usually brings a good profit for many business owners.
She said this can be expected to continue for the Christmas period as well.
Bartlett said sales of household décor items such as curtains and home furnishings are generally good during key periods in the year.
However, this has changed.
“There is definitely a drop in sales since last year. The buying patterns has changed. Many people have changed their spending habits. There is less purchasing powers and we expect the same for Christmas,” she said.
She also noted a decrease in religious activity where the entire community would be invited to the event.
Bartlett said: “People are not calling the neighbourhood again. Whatever religious event is for their family or some are not having it again.”
The Penal/Debe Chamber agreed that there has been a decline with the purchasing power of consumers.
The Chamber's president Rampersad Sieuraj said the small and medium businesses have been adversely affected as people are no longer rushing for “bargain deals”.
He said, “There is and will continue to be a decrease in terms of revenue and income generated. Especially with the small and medium businesses. At this time, traditionally we see Divali sales of items going very quickly and this isn't the case.
I've also noticed that even in the supermarkets they still have a large number of stocks. Divali is a time for dispelling the darkness but there is darkness right now.”