Many shops see spike in sales; well stocked up to meet demand
Bandar Seri Begawan - A surge in local shopping is expected in the coming weeks with many shops across the country gearing up for a spike in sales, as many people will be receiving their year-end bonuses soon.
Over the past one month since November 26 following the start of the Brunei Salebration (BSb) 2012, participating stores in the Sultanate have been offering products ranging from textiles to home appliances and electronic goods at discounted prices with a minimum discount of at least 20 per cent and for some businesses, sales have been steadily increasing, indicating a positive trend that Bruneians are shopping more at home.
The Borneo Bulletin, yesterday interviewed a number of shops in one of the busiest Central Business Districts, Kiulap, and all of them said December end is when parents get their children ready for school and gift-giving becomes the topic of discussion.
"Sales usually increase during this time and we foresee a lot of customers especially during bonus time," said Ang Siow Chyng of Sek Gee Enterprise that specialises in home lighting fixtures.
"Families are usually the ones who visit our store and the first thing they ask is whether we are having discounted sales," she further shared and elaborated that the BSb has been a significant tool in helping with the Small and Medium Enterprise especially with growing international competition now in Brunei.
From a minimum of 30 per cent last year as part of the prerequisites to becoming a BSb 2011 participant to 20 per cent this year, Ms Chyng explained that the move has brought some relief to the company stating that in 2011 the mandatory discount was "too high" for electronic goods companies especially when taking into consideration that sales had slightly dropped compared to previous years due to the credit card crunch experienced in 2010.
At the moment, with just a few days prior to the bonus, she said, sales have been slow but "it is getting better and hopefully will increase by the end of the year through to early next year".
In Brunei, visits to textile shops are perhaps trips that are made almost on a monthly basis especially for women who opt to don the Malay costume for work and special occasions, which would mean that the sector is busy throughout the year.
However, Firoz Jaya's Mitzi C Gapasen explained that the end of every year was among the most demanding time especially with the discounts that are on offer as the ladies of Brunei get ready to ring in the New Year in style.
"We are expecting an increase and we've brought in more stock to meet demand," said Ms Gapasen and added that the bonus season, which is one of the main contributing factors to the rise in sales, is similar to pre-Hari Raya preparations.
Similarly, the sale of new shoes for women has also seen an upward trend during the Salebration period.
The Manager Floor of Vincci, Noorlilhifrah Nayan, said that sales have been "so far, so good", especially over the past few days as some in the private sector have received their year-end bonuses.
"A lot of our stock has finished and sales have increased," she said, echoing the observations made by other retailers in the area.
It's business as usual, meanwhile, as the sale of electronic goods has been constant with AV Electronics, despite not being a BSb participant, that specialises in the selling of Apple products. They said that their merchandise are moving quite well with many customers visiting their stores even before the Christmas holidays.
"Our store will be even more packed during the bonus season,' said Zul Fadhirul Yahya, and because of this, "We have more stock than usual" as the month of December typically caters to patrons looking for gifts to present to families and friends and those who are looking for something new for 2013.
With a customer base that is of varying demographics, among those who are frequently seen are parents with their children who are looking for products that will help with school work, he said, especially for students preparing to go overseas.
For Parvati Textiles Centre, "there has been a drop in customers", speculating that many have gone overseas to make their purchases such as school accessories, which are among the many items that the Bruneian shop offers.
"But, this time of year; we do expect more people," said Suresh Kumar Raja, especially those doing their last-minute shopping in time for the new school semester.
The BSb 2012, meanwhile, has been scheduled to run for 49 days and will end on January 13, 2013 with the aim to stimulate the country's economic activities through attractive sales promotions as a means to entice members of the public, especially Bruneians.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin