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Chaguanas businessman Vishnu Charran

Shastri Boodan

Chaguanas businessmen are not expecting the retail sector to pick up overnight.

Stores in the Central Borough opened up as early as 8 am along the Main Road.

However there was a trickle of customers.

Manager of Vishnu Charran, who runs the Charran’s Plaza, opposite the Chaguanas Market, said it may take a year before sales return to the way it was.

Charran said people just don’t have the disposable income.

He said the book store section was slow for a back-to-school season

“Disposable income is not there for a lot of people. The retail sector opened this morning and we expect to see a lot of people out there. However it is not going to be that inflow people many hope to see. People may look for the necessity. I expect things to be quite slow , it’s never going to get back to the level it was before and businesses need to recognize that and plan their business accordingly,” he said.

Shoppers told Guardian Media that they were mostly shopping for shoes and underwear.

A 40-year-old woman, of Charlieville said, “I have to buy shoes and underwear, these are things I must get. I don’t have a lot of money to buy new clothes. There are really no occasions to attend.

Business was also slow at the malls.

Richie Sookhai, president of the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIC), said 80 per cent of businesses were opened with workers operating on a shift basis.

Sookhai and CCIC members toured the area around noon.

He said, “It is pretty slow right now, just as the restaurant sector took a little while and is still trying to recover.”

He said the spending power of consumers has been slashed and many consumers are cautious with their monies as school is set to open next month.

Dr Valmikki Arjoon, CCIC executive member, said some people who have a steady income, would have a pent-up demand for goods while those who have lost income would show a lower demand for goods.

“Their recovery would be hinging on their ability to acquire their jobs or acquire new jobs something that is not going to happen overnight,” he said.