While not Bahamian traditions, Thanksgiving and Black Friday typically jumpstart the holiday spending season locally, during which time local retailers are expected to earn up to 60 percent of their annual revenue, according to former Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Chief Executive Officer Edison Sumner.
According to Sumner, this is a time for the already-stretched-thin Bahamian economy to get a significant injection.
“This time of year, most businesses, particularly those in the retail sector, earn the majority of their revenue during the Christmas holiday season. Some businesses have reported in the past that they can earn as much as 60 percent of their annual revenue during the holiday season, particularly around Christmas, leading into Christmas and also between Christmas and the New Year holidays,” he said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“So, this period of the year represents a significant time for retail in the country, because this is when most retailers would generate the majority of their income for the year. So, it’s going to be very important for the economy given that, post-Hurricane Dorian, we have been in a depressed state.”
His comments come as retailers throughout the country offer “Black Friday” sales to Bahamian shoppers looking to experience the same savings that are available in the United States at this time.
Americans are expected to spend in excess of $14 billion in the immediate four days after Thanksgiving, which includes “Cyber Monday”.
However, for many in The Bahamas, holiday spending may come as a challenge, with the cost of living on an upward trajectory, particularly following Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to lead to a slower growing economy over the medium term.
Still, Sumner encouraged Bahamians to use their holiday spending money wisely.
“This is going to be a significant period. This is when you find that most consumers spend a lot of their money because in many cases, many consumers have additional disposable income because they get usually – for many of them – year end bonuses or some other emoluments that they get, which gives them some greater spending power at the end of the year,” he said.
“We also see that this time of the year is when a lot consumers actually end up getting consumer loans from the banks for the holidays, because they want to have an enjoyable holiday season, so you find that some might get bonuses and extra funds at the end of the year through their employment, but others will access funding from the banks and use those funds to decorate their homes, they would refurbish their homes, so there’s money being spent in that area. Then they would go and purchase gifts for their loved ones, so there’s additional shopping in the retail outlets around the country.
“I think that this year apart from the economic injection that this time of year will allow, I think we will find some persons who are going to be offering some level of goodwill, especially for those who were impacted by the hurricane, to be sure that they themselves can get as enjoyable a holiday as possible, given what they would have faced in the last several months,” he noted.