Market numbed by high November temperatures, inflation and cost of living
The market is numb with the beginning of November. This is a month that is traditionally not considered the best for retail trade, with entrepreneurs in the sector waiting, at least in recent years, for the Black Friday period to increase the pace of sales. However, this year things show that it will not be like previous years. As market insiders describe to “K,” retail traffic isn't at its best, or at least market visits don't always translate into purchases. Consumers are very cautious in their purchases, the market is numb, and it is a bet as to whether the dynamics of the institution will change the image which is formed on the basis of a chain of factors that negatively affect consumer behavior – economic circumstances, inflation, duration of discounts, amount of discounts as well as the weather conditions.
The offers during the Black Friday period in Cyprus are not such that they can reverse the facts.
According to PASYLE's general manager Mario Antoniou, there is not much optimism for this year's Black Friday performance. First, the “operating cost” of a household remains high. Inflation mainly in the food category and fuel costs absorb a large part of the monthly income, despite the temporary relief given by the reduction in the tax rate on oil and petrol, as well as the subsidy on electricity bills. At the same time, the war in the Middle East creates a wider climate of uncertainty which is also reflected in consumer behavior. One factor that seems to be weighing on markets is the weather. As Mr. Antoniou describes, the November summer has a negative impact on the market, since while the temperatures remain high, the winter stocks in clothing and footwear remain on store shelves. Of course, the sales of heating devices, which traditionally increased during such a period, are also minimal, since the November temperatures so far do not justify such purchases. Due to the weather, even shopping for Christmas decorations was put on hold. A negative factor in terms of the consumer mood is of course the fact that Black Friday falls this year one week before the payment of salaries and therefore the purchasing power is reduced. At low levels are also the offers during the Black Friday period, which are not such as can reverse the data. These are discounts that usually range from 20%-50%, which combined with the fact that they start to be applied several days before Black Friday, seem to lose even more of their momentum.
The discounts in the Parliament
In essence, this is a discount period like any other, says the representative of the Consumers Association, Virginia Christou, who spoke to “K” about “pitfalls” that the consumer should be aware of. For example, whether the products on offer are from the new stock or from the old, to know the policy of offers and discounts that differs in each store, as well as to be careful of any attempt to mislead. He cited examples of incidents that the Pancypriot Consumers Association has before him:
-Ads that still present good deals and discounts on products that are sold out of the store – which constitutes misleading the consumer.
– Misleading labels. For example placing a discount label on a product that shows a discount price, but without differentiating from its price before the start of the discount.
– Return Policy- There are cases where if a product is returned during the sale period, then its value will be calculated based on the applicable discount, rather than its purchase cost. There are also cases where the consumer is asked to pay unreasonably extra amount to change the product.
-Online offers up to 80-90% which tempts the consumer to visit the website, however he finds that there is only one product to which the specific discount applies, or none at all.
Tomorrow Tuesday the Parliament's Trade Committee is expected to discuss the institution of discounts in Cyprus, problems that exist and ways to deal with them. The issue happened to be discussed in November during the Black Friday sales period and it will be examined if there is any loophole in conducting sales. It is recalled that according to legislation the sales in Cyprus took place during closed sales periods, however this was changed by a court decision, therefore in the last decade, the sales are carried out without being governed by a specific legislative framework.
source: THE DAILY OF CYPRUS/Maria Herakleous