(Source: Inquirer.net | 12 October 2016)
A Cebuano business leader said the boost in consumer spending during the holiday season is seen to increase employment opportunities and bolster the economy of the Central Visayas region.
Robert Go, president of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) in Cebu, said December brings in two to three times more sales compared to any other month of the year.
“All the trading and retailing will drive up local spending, increase employment opportunities and purchasing power, which will translate to growth in the system,” he told Cebu Daily News in an e-mail.
The business leader is also president and CEO of the Cebu-based Prince Retail.
Go also said that Cebu will remain as the “shopping capital” of Visayas and Mindanao as more shopping is done here compared to other neighboring provinces.
Anticipating the increase in spending toward this time, he said retailers have begun stocking up for Christmas buy and warehousing them for a sudden upsurge of Christmas holiday purchases in December.
He said deliveries normally stop by mid-December while last minute ordering may run until end-October. Planning for next year’s buy has also started, he said.
Go cited Cebu’s growing population as a factor in driving up sales during Christmas, adding that there will also be provincial visits and meetings that will be held here during the season.
He added that remittances sent in by overseas Filipino workers are also expected to drive up consumer spending.
Spending projection: up by 9 percent
Consumer spending in Cebu is projected to increase by 9 percent, higher than the average 7 percent in the whole country.
“This is driven by ready to eat and drink, liquor, cigarettes, and non-food grocery items,” he explained.
Other segments projected to post positive growth are goods and alcoholic beverages, transport, recreation, restaurants and hotels, and housing and health.
The Philippine population is now over 101 million with capita per GDP at $3,589, which means an increase in the purchasing power of the Filipino, Go said.
He said despite reports on the weakening peso against the dollar as well as investors pulling out money from the country, there is still a general optimism among consumers that the economy will get better.
Go said that if everything goes well toward the end of the year, consumer spending is bound to go up, especially on food, while malls and supermarkets are expected to be on the upswing.
– By Victor Anthony V. Silva