Shop owners jittery over window shopping
As Christmas approaches, shop owners are waiting on tenterhooks to
see whether the Maltese public are simply window shopping at present
with a view to getting their wallets out or plan to curb their spending
this year in line with the indications that there is an economic slowdown.
Many reasons are being cited as possible factors that could affect consumer
spending this Christmas uncertainty over the economic situation,
less disposable income, a reduction in profits and the opening of more
shops on a widespread scale.
Although many shop owners are aware that consumers often leave it until
mid-December to begin shopping, they are still concerned that patterns
could be different this year.
Some businessmen had also hoped people might begin shopping earlier
and have more cash available having cancelled trips abroad over flying
fears following the terrorist attacks.
Shop owners are already feeling jittery having felt the impact of a
decrease in incoming tourism.
A drop in numbers has led to less money being spent in shops, bars and
restaurants. Clothes shops are also feeling the pinch, with some even
choosing to close earlier than required.
Although white goods do not tend to move any faster at Christmas, one
supplier told the Malta Financial and Business Times that microwaves
often shift well around Christmas, although its difficult to make
Suppliers of jewellery and novelty gifts complained that people havent
got much money to spend and are buying what is absolutely necessary,
or simply looking.
"It is always like this during this time of the year," Tonio
Zampa of Zampa jewellers in Zachary Street told The Malta Financial
and Business Times. "People are coming to see what we have got
on offer then they will decide. Normally they come back to buy after
"Lets just hope they do this time," said another businessman.
But it seems that parents are, at least, not taking any chances with
childrens presents this year and have stocked up early. Toyshops
are reporting a booming business and parents are even booking Father
Christmas home visits!
Shops such as The Model Shop, Eduline, Clamus and The New pages in Mosta
all reported a good trade.
Paul Grech, of The New Pages, told The Malta Financial and Business
Times that he had ordered more toys at the end of November because most
of the stock had already sold.
"It looks like people in Mosta, at least from this area, wanted
to buy their kids Christmas presents very early this year,"
he said. "Most of them have left them in my shop for Father Christmas
to deliver, or perhaps so they wont be discovered!"