MP: Shop on-Island this Christmas
The public needs to support struggling local shops and businesses this Christmas, according to Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards.
While he said overseas shopping trips have almost become a Bermuda tradition, Mr Richards asked for people to give local retailers a chance.
“Bermuda's retail sector has always demonstrated a stubborn resilience in the face of the shifting nature of the local market and immense competition from online purchasing and overseas stores, coupled with the ability of Bermuda's population to fly to them,” Mr Richards said.
“But today the challenge for shopkeepers is nearing the breaking point. The retail sector has reported declining sales for 18 consecutive months. Shop shutdowns and job layoffs have resulted.”
While he said shopping overseas is tempting, he called for more locals do their Christmas shopping on the Island.
“We can't downplay the wider variety of goods available in US locations, and the enjoyment these trips entail, but would urge shoppers to look in our stores before committing their shopping budget to overseas stores.
“We think there is an excellent variety of gift items locally that only need to be seen to be appreciated.”
He stressed that the retail sector is largely owned and operated by Bermudians, so it is Bermudians who would suffer if the retail sector fails.
“The danger is, once this recession is behind us, and one day it will be, the survivors may be too few to even be called a sector, and Bermuda will be poorer for it.”
He encouraged business owners to adapt, and work with Government, saying: “The challenges for them are basic service, selection, availability and price but the solutions are out there.”