BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large Western Bureau firstname.lastname@example.org
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Retailers in this resort city are hoping that tomorrow, the final day of Christmas shopping, will see a spike in sales.
"We are hoping that it will be a good day. Sales have been very slow even though today (Saturday) we saw a little bit of shopping," Anthony Pearson, the managing director of Lloyds Department Store in Montego Bay, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
Located on the busy St James Street in the city and Fairview Shopping Centre at Bogue, the establishment — which has been in business for more than four decades — stocks a wide array of men's, children's and women's clothing, toys, and household items.
Pearson said yesterday that in anticipation of a brisk Christmas shopping period, the store had significantly increased its stock.
"We have added a wide range of other items, but the build-up to the Christmas Eve shopping is just not there. The people are out looking at the items in the stores, as usual, but they are just not buying. The disposable income is just not there," Pearson argued.
Vendors at the usually busy Old Shoe Market on Creek Street also reported sluggish sales.
"Things nuh pick up yet; it slow. Last year this time we were doing good business; but we are hoping that on Monday we will mek a money," said Kerold Clarke, president of the 200-member-strong Old Shoe Market Vendors' Association.
Another vendor said he, too, was looking forward to Monday's Grand Market.
"Monday I believe should be a little better; a lot a people usually wait until the last day before Christmas to shop," he reasoned.
Hope Sterling of Sterling's Fashion Hut and Sterling's Refrigeration on Market Street also believes that shopping will intensify tomorrow.
According to her, she saw signs of that on Friday and again yesterday.
"We did a little business on Friday, it wasn't too bad, and today (Saturday) it picked up a little more, so I believe that on Monday there will be a further increase in spending," she argued.
Meanwhile, the St James Parish Council, as of yesterday, permitted vendors to ply their trade along sections of St James Street, Church Lane and Barnett Street in Montego Bay.
This arrangement will remain in place until tomorrow.
In the meantime, there has been a marked increase in police presence in the busy downtown areas of the resort city.