Home improvement stores see dip in sales for Xmas

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this file photo, shoopers look at lawn and garden supplies at Bhagwansingh’s Piarco branch. – Marvin Hamilton

Hardware and home improvement stores owners have said sales have been slow as fewer people are shopping for home renovations items, paint and other supplies usually high in demand during the Christmas season two years after emerging from appears to be the worst of the covid19 pandemic.

A representative of Bhagwansingh’s, a hardware and home furnishing supply chain, said, “Sales are not like they used to be since before the pandemic and people are now trying to pick up and see how best they can make ends meet. So it is not as how it used to be, but we still have people who are shopping for paints, tiles and other accessories.”

She added, “It is a little better than last year, though, but it is not how it used to be.”

She said there has been an increase in prices in their products, but because Bhagwansingh’s offer promotions, these increases haven’t affected customers.

In this file photo, customers view products offered at Build to Last Hardware, at the soft launch of their Home Division, Southern Main Rd, Freeport. – Angelo Marcelle

She explained, “What used to be $15 is now $20 and $25 or around that area there.”

CEO of T&Z Home Improvement Centre Trevor Joseph said sales have been going well for his business and its multiple branches.

“Last year was really subdued by covid19 and business was really struggling and trotting along last year. So I wouldn’t really say it’s back to normal, but it is an improvement over last year and I’m happier this year than last year for sure.”

Joseph said a lot of people were buying paint and it is usually bought more around this time of year since people either buy paint for Divali or Christmas.

He said prices increased to off-set the higher freight rates which was affecting businesses worldwide. Joseph said because of these additional costs, the company had to absorb some of these costs as to not distress customers.

Shoppers check out the prices of Christmas trees on Charlotte Street, Port of Spain. – SUREASH CHOLAI

“For example, our paints, we haven’t increased the prices on our paints in the last five years and we took all the increased costs from the factories and from the freight. We were trying to establish the brand properly, so we thought to continue to reduce the profit of margin and let people have a choice to buy from us.”

In addition, Joseph said T&Z Home Improvement Centre gave shoppers a 20 per cent discount on all items. He said the company is also having a contest for all shoppers to get a chance to win $3,000 worth of goods from the store.

With this in mind, he advised shoppers to spend wisely.

“When buying paint, people need to ask about the warranty on the paint and if the company offers warranty. That’s the first question you should ask, everything you buy, you must ask for warranty.”

He said customers should also ask about the quality of the paint and how much square feet they can get when using it. Joseph said one gallon of paint might give a customer 300 square feet while another may give 600 square feet. He said this would save customers a lot of time and money over buying the paint by the gallon aimlessly.

Joseph said people need to bear in mind the quality of the item they want to purchase as it will help them in the long run. He advised the thickness of the tiles should also be checked before purchase.

“They shouldn’t buy the cheapest tile that they see because at the end of the day those cheap tiles will cost a lot more to take back out. People should know that construction costs are high, not the finishes, so they should never cheap out on that especially for their floors.”

On December 14, the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Consumer Affairs Division released its comparative prices of non-supermarket Christmas items and Bhagwansingh’s and T&Z Home Improvement Centre were listed.

Among the products surveyed were curtains, curtain rods, paint brushes, Christmas trees and other decorations.