Retailers look to recover ‘lost’ sales in 4th quarter

Photo from Business World

By Business World

The country’s retail industry is still cautious about its near-term sales outlook, as consumer confidence remains tepid despite the further easing of mobility curbs in Metro Manila.

Roberto S. Claudio, Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) vice chairman, told BusinessWorld in an e-mail interview that retailers are not seeing “revenge spending” yet but expects to recoup lost sales in the upcoming holiday season.

“This Christmas season, (we) will just be happy enough to recover lost sales from the last three quarters. It’s more like a ‘testing the waters recovery’ than a ‘revenge spending.’ Most retailers are just aiming for a breakeven performance at best,” he said.

Revenge shopping refers to a trend first seen in developed countries that have emerged from lockdowns, wherein consumers make up for lost time by spending and going out more.

Colliers Philippines in a recent report said “revenge shopping and dining should anchor mall operations’ rebound.”

Mr. Claudio said full-year retail sales are still likely to be flat, even as Metro Manila is currently under a more relaxed Alert Level 2 and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases have plunged.

“We are not revising our previous projection at this early stage of Alert Level 2 due to uncertainties that are present namely, people and transportation are not at pre-pandemic levels. We are also not ruling out a resurgence of cases which may lead to another lockdown,” Mr. Claudio said.

Metro Manila will remain under Alert Level 2, which allows businesses to increase capacity, until end-November. Shopping malls have seen an increase in foot traffic, as there are no longer age restrictions on individuals allowed to enter.

However, President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday evening urged local governments to ban children below 12 years from malls and public spaces to protect them from COVID-19.

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