Co-President of the Bahamas Federation of Retailers Tara Morley said yesterday that with rising shipping, fuel and commodity prices worldwide, everybody is a “price taker” right now and there is little local consumers can do to navigate.
Addressing the escalating costs of everyday goods, Morley – who is also a Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) director – said its important that Bahamian consumers recognize that the challenge is not unique to The Bahamas and the best thing they can do is to continue to shop locally to keep the local market afloat.
“At the moment unfortunately I think everybody is just a price taker in this market. And like I said it’s not necessarily that prices have gone up just in The Bahamas. I think that’s one thing I’d like to highlight to Bahamian consumers, that this is not just in The Bahamas that this is happening. So we would still encourage consumers to shop at home as much as possible,” she said yesterday while appearing as a guest on the Guardian Radio talk show “Morning Blend”.
“You’re not going to necessarily find a cheaper price abroad as opposed to buying at home and in fact, there were certain instances where lumber was being sold cheaper here in The Bahamas than it was in the US during the price increase abroad. Unlike Home Depot – which follows the commodity market and the second the price of lumber went up they jacked up their prices – local retailers don’t do that, they don’t follow the commodity markets. They were just selling based on their costs of goods and passing on their savings to the consumers. So sometimes it really is better in The Bahamas. I would say to step out of that mindset that it’s going to be cheaper abroad because that’s not necessarily the case. Continue to support the local market, shop at home as much as you can.”
Earlier this week, Bahamas Price Control Commission Chairman Danny Sumner said his department has seen a steady increase in the number of complaints from consumers. He attributed what he called the “escalating” price of food and dry goods on store shelves to rising fuel costs impacting shipping and the double whammy on most items in The Bahamas of customs duty and value added tax (VAT).
Morley echoed those sentiments, adding that the obvious choice for many Bahamians is to shop online at overseas stores, but she said there may not be any savings taking that route.
“Shipping has gone up. You’ll probably find that retailers, because they are able to consolidate their shipping on a larger volume of goods, you’re probably going to end up buying the product cheaper at home just because to ship one item from abroad, with the increase in shipping costs you’re going to end up paying sometimes more than the cost of the item to bring it in,” she said.