Business owners and managers in downtown Port of Spain yesterday gave mixed reviews of sales leading up to Christmas Day.
Speaking with the Express at their businesses yesterday, several said sales were on par with last year, while others said their sales for Christmas this year dropped when compared to last year and previous years for various reasons.
One business owner with a perfume counter said although sales were slow in the beginning of the season they picked up closer to Christmas.
"It wasn't bad, although it started off slow we had a lot more customers the last few days before Christmas. I wouldn't say it was dismal, it was okay," she said.
Another business owner, Thaddeus Jardine, said Christmas sales at his place of business were good.
"We had a good Christmas inside of here. I can't remember exactly what the numbers were last year but this year was very good," he said.
The owner of an electronic store said he couldn't say why some business owners had complained about sales being dismal.
"It was not dismal for me. Sales were just the same as it was last year for me," he said.
A clothing and handbag business owner told the Express that her Christmas sales were the same as last year.
"I think I was on par with last year, but it was very late. The Friday that we thought we would be doing very well the current went and I think that threw a damper for business in Port of Spain because Port of Spain business, around Christmas time, is for Friday.
"We depend a lot on offices and banks and on Saturday they are closed and a lot of businesses and offices were closed on Monday (Christmas Eve) so we didn't get that traffic. So Friday would have been our day, but a lot of people locked up and went home, they didn't bother after the current went," she said.
However, checks with a manager at another electronic store found that his Christmas sales had been slow.
"I am not sure what accounted for it but what I found was that the people who were shopping came with a specific amount of money they were willing to spend and a lot of times the money they had in hand did not line up with the cost of the items I have," he said.
A shoe store manager said sales this year had indeed been slower than the previous year at her store and the store was new to the location last year.
"We had more people shopping last year and we had just moved in, but then again we opened on Christmas Day last year, so maybe that made the difference," she said.
One customer shopping for shoes at the same store yesterday explained that she waited till after Christmas to do her shopping because she didn't like the rush or the hustle during the pre-Christmas Day shopping.
"Sometimes you end up buying the wrong thing so I waited for today," she said.
Tricia Jackman, who owns a clothing and accessory business, said her Christmas sales have been dropping steadily over the past three years.
"People are shopping around but it is still not the same. I think it's because of the spirit of the people. The whole energy of the country right now is not one that is conducive to shopping because people shop according to how they feel and everything that happened in the country leading up to Christmas–the highway protests–just killed the whole vibe. I just think the energy was wrong for shopping," she said.
Another woman shopping at that store told the Express that she waited to do her shopping because of the usual after Christmas sales.
"I wait to see what sales there are because before Christmas I don't usually have the time or the money so I wait till after the Christmas to see what I could pick up that is on sale," she said.
The power outage the Friday before Christmas was also highlighted as the reason behind this year's slow Christmas sales by another manager.
"We reopened, but that flow that we had earlier before the electricity went we never got it back. Because sales were going really well before," she said.