Holiday spending to boost retail sales
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - November 13, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Strong holiday-related spending is seen to boost businesses as consumers splurge this Christmas amid costlier goods and services.

Philippine Retailers Association-Cebu president Robert Go remained optimistic that retail sales will remain up this year despite consumers are struggling with rising prices.

"It's Christmas and people look forward to this season and they really spend," Go told The FREEMAN.

Businesses still expect Christmas sales to be strong, he said.

He said the 13th month pay and bonuses will boost the spending power of consumers.

Particularly, he sees a strong demand for noche buena products in the coming weeks.

"Gift giving is always observed this season and our young ones and kids expect that," said Go, owner of supermarket chain Prince Warehouse.

He pointed out that remittances sent back home by overseas Filipino workers (OFW) this Christmas are also a big boost to holiday spending.

"Remittances normally rise during Christmas as OFWs send money to their loved ones," he said.

Go cited that among the in-demand goods this Christmas include clothes, appliances, furniture and gadgets.

He said holiday spending will sustain through the New Year celebration.

"Food will be in-demand for the whole month of December of course," the retailer pointed out.

"Even with higher prices due rising inflation, everyone is still spending for Christmas," Go noted.

Tourists in Cebu and workers in the high-paying business process outsourcing (BPO) sector are likewise pumping in money and are driving retail sales.

"Our Chinese and Korean tourists are spending on hotels and food," Go said.

He believes Asian tourists, particularly Korean and Chinese, will continue to grow and boost the local economy through their spending.

"These all contributed more every year and they are increasing. If you notice, restaurants are full of Chinese and Korean tourists," he said.

In an earlier interview, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo expected consumer spending to remain robust in the last quarter of this year as inflation was seen to start easing.

“This reflects the result of the Consumer Expectation Survey that showed consumers are now more optimistic in the last quarter of the year, precisely because of the holiday, start of the harvest season, and the implementation of public and private projects, which all mean jobs,” Guinigundo said. (FREEMAN)

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