07 July 2004

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Dampened moods and slow business for Trade Fair - GRTU survey

By Matthew Vella

In the midst of economic uncertainty and a troubled government cabinet that has lost one of its most senior ministers, the GRTU survey for the first week of the Malta International Trade Fair trade fair has revealed a less than optimistic mood amongst exhibitors and traders.
The GRTU’s first survey covers the comments from businesses at the Trade Fair for the first week of the fair on overall businesses performance, opinions and expectations for the fair. The second survey will be held at the end of the Trade Fair.
First indications of a dampened mood amidst traders at the Naxxar grounds was the feeling amongst the majority of businesses that sales had decreased by over 20 per cent, with a total of 53 per cent claiming their business had registered a drop in sales of between 5 per cent and over 20 per cent.
Sixteen per cent said business levels had not changed since the 2003 fair.
The mood confirms the initial feelings gathered throughout the first week of the fair, generally, a window-shopping crowd, and not much buying going on.
Comparing expectations, the survey says 23 per cent believe this year’s fair is ‘better,’ but 51 per cent believe 2004 is ‘worse’ than expected.
Two-thirds of the interviewed businesses are expecting the second week to be better, although over 56 per cent said the visits to the Trade Fair had decreased. Only nine per cent thought attendance had increased over last year. Another 50 per cent claimed visits to their stands had decreased, revealing the lack of consumer confidence apparent in this year’s Trade Fair.
Prices were singled out by 34 per cent of the businesses as the most important factor influencing consumer behaviour, followed by product range (29 per cent) and quality of goods and trade fair standards (10 per cent). Sixty-one per cent introduced special offers with their products.
Whilst the general outlook from the GRTU Trade Fair survey reflected the long face of entrepreneurship, other findings revealed neutral judgement over the effects of EU membership, with 56 per cent saying integration had not affected the overall performance of their business.

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
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