With just 20 days to go to Christmas and the current situation, the GRTU said that uncertainty and instability is killing off retail businesses in Malta. Research carried out by the GRTU in more than 50 economic sectors throughout the country shows that during the last two weeks 66% of those involved in the sector have reported decreased sales. In fact, 15% stated their sales have halved.
This despite that December is progressing and the Christmas festivities are approaching.
Our visit to Valletta to ascertain the atmosphere in various businesses and retail outlets there were complaints over the rate of Christmas sales this year.
While acknowledging that the rate of purchase of Christmas presents escalates after the 13th December Public Holiday, there were remarks that the public protests and political developments are hampering desires to purchase and have stained the festive spirit normally experienced at this time of the year.
One comment made stated that confusion prevented them from setting up stalls for two days.
Another comment aid that all of a sudden everything came to a standstill … and the reason … perhaps people are afraid to visit Valletta and that for three days they had not put up a stall and currently consumers still appear to be in a state of confusion.
A further comment stated the first week has always been quieter than usual and things begin to escalate by mid-December but the protests taking place have been having a negative effect.
Yet others said there have been no great differences compared to previous years because sales begin to escalate during the last two weeks of December and it is still too early to tell although there should be indications by the coming week.
Other comments stated, in one instance that of a consumer, who said they have not been affected and only enter Valletta on occasions. In another comment another person said that children are still attending school and when school holidays begin, shopping increases.
Other explanations were that not everybody is enchanted by Christmas and one 83-year-old said they were alone and therefore did not need to buy anything other than having a meal.
In a review of last week’s Black Friday, the GRTU said that although economic activity had increased it had still not meet expectations.
In its observation the GRTU said the sale of electronic products and white goods had been reported by retail outlets to have reached the levels of previous years. However, retail outlets in Valletta reported it was their worst Black Friday in recent years on record because many consumers had avoided entering Valletta.