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Dec 23, 2005

Streets crowded with holiday shoppers

Story PictureFor months Belizeans have been crying “Tings haad out ya”, but if you were visiting Belize City for the first time this week, you’d never believe money is tight. Downtown Albert Street and all the side lanes have been bustling with shoppers and traffic has slowed to a crawl for most of the day. The money seemed to be flowing freely with people stocking up on gift items, apples and grapes, and all the holiday food favourites. And while some were spending cash freely, come January they’ll be wishing they had kept their wallets and purses in their pockets. But for now, most people seem to gravitate towards the bargains and sale and discount signs everywhere, even in stores that used to believe they didn’t need to slash prices to bring in consumers. But times are changing and Belizean shoppers want value for money and a nice, comfortable shopping environment too. News Five visited some of the busiest merchants today to find out if business really was as brisk as it seemed.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Today with only two shopping days left before Christmas there were crowds of people on the streets and in the shops busily purchasing those gifts and food supplies they had hoped to get earlier, if only they had had the time.

With competition keen, and money tight for many shoppers, some stores went all out to attract customers. From what we observed, their investment in store improvements, special offers and discounts caught the eyes of many buyers.

Sherman Sawers, Manager, Brodie?s Downtown
?We have renovated our store; we have invested in air conditioning the store so that it?s more comfortable for shoppers to shop. We know the days are very hot, so now it?s pleasant to come in and shop and spend some time in the store.?

Jacqueline Woods
?I notice that as I look things have been picking up here inside of Brodie?s. When did the shoppers really started coming??

Sherman Sawers
?From early December we have seen increase in sales. I think people enjoy coming to shop here better now and from early December we see increased sales and sales have been very good for us.?

Rodrigo Gonzales, Assistant, Toy Dept., Romac?s Plaza
?It?s just Romac?s way of giving back to our customers, to in a way say thank you and merry Christmas.?

Jacqueline Woods
?You guys are offering a very special deal.?

Rodrigo Gonzales
?Very special if you take one toy like this one, just pick another one and take it home for free. So it?s quite a good deal.?

Jacqueline Woods
?And how long will this offer run for??

Rodrigo Gonzales
?Well we?re trying to deplete everything that?s in the store.?

Jacqueline Woods
?And you find that a lot of customers have been taking advantage of the deal??

Rodrigo Gonzales
?Very much so. So much that they come that they come back over and over, they are making much of the deal.?

For those who have no choice but to wait until Christmas Eve to get their shopping done, you will be happy to know that on that day many stores do offer super discounts at their establishments. And there is still plenty of choice merchandise on the shelves.

Most stores in the city are expected to continue their extended Christmas shopping hours on Christmas Eve for all you last minute Santas.

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