Christmas sales poor, say traders

Hundreds of shoppers were yesterday making last-ditch purchases of commodities ahead of Christmas.

The Citizen witnessed crowds of shoppers flocking Kariakoo, Tandale, Buguruni and Ilala markets to buy various items including clothes and foodstuffs.

However, most dealers were concerned about the low purchasing power. Many of the people visiting the markets have been doing window shopping.

According to a committee member of the Association of Tandale Market Traders, Mr Juma Saidi, the customers’ purchasing power this festival season is lower than that of a similar season last year.

“Three main reasons have affected Christmas sales this year. They are the general economic constraints among households, price declines due to the higher supply of food compared with the demand in this season and that more people have opened their informal kiosks, affecting the formal markets,” he said.

He listed some of foodstuffs affected at the Tandale market as rice which is sold for Sh1,600 a kilo against Sh2,000 sold last year, Irish potatoes at Sh 2,000 against Sh3,000 per container and beans at Sh1,400 a kilo against Sh1,500 last year.

The executive director of the Small Traders Association (Vibindo), Mr Gaston Kikuwi, said all major markets had recorded lower volume of sales due to such reasons. He also cited the low purchasing power of civil servants this season.

Other reasons include the low level of household spending and some commotion caused by informal traders.

Without giving more figures, Mr Kikuwi said sales turnover had declined by 30 per cent this Christmas season compared with a similar period last year.

In some shopping malls, one could not see any change until yesterday. Nakumatt Tanzania Limited and Game Store at Mlimani City which have large outlets and also account for a number of visitors for shopping, drinking and other businesses were by yesterday noon yet to be crowded.

Some customers bought packed rice, beverages, drinking water, meat, decorations and many varieties of commodities according to their shopping lists. All these activities were taking place at a slow pace till noon.

“Many shoppers might come later in the evening after work,” said Ms Mary Winfred.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Ludger Kasumuni and Felix Lazaro from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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