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Layoffs loom as retail sales plunge further
Former PRA president Robert Go said that from the start of 2021, retailers were hoping of a recovering traffic and sales performance, however, contrary to expectations, sales continue to dive further.
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Layoffs loom as retail sales plunge further

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - March 1, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — More retrenchments are bound to happen in the retail sector in Cebu as sales performance continues to weaken in the first two months of 2021.

“There are further plans of retrenchment after one year of DOLE [Department of Labor and Employment) extension of furlough. So, since one year is almost up and business has gone back to 3rd quarter level, more retrenchment and closures are planned,” said retail sector leader Robert Go.

Go, who was the former president of Retailers Association of the Philippines (PRA-Cebu) said that from the start of 2021, retailers were hoping of a recovering traffic and sales performance, however, contrary to expectations, sales continue to dive further.

 “We saw further sales slump in February, meaning people have no more money or maybe saving and holding on to their cash,” said Go, who is also Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) former president.

The non-essential items in the department stores are suffering from unmoving inventories, he said.

“Those clothing stores, bags, shoes personal goods, household items and even those sports and home furnishings are no longer selling as people are prioritizing groceries,” he explained.

While vaccines are the only hope to increase economic activity, the herd immunity however would seem to take another two to three years.

Cebu’s increasing Covid-19 cases is another hindrance, he said expressing fears that if this were to continue, this would again affect mobility of people.

 Earlier, business leaders in Cebu vowed to minimizing retrenchments.

“We continue to be pro-livelihood, pro-life,” assured Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Steven Yu.

 Yu’s pronouncement is also backed up by Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Felix Taguiam, saying businesses do not want to let go of people, amid difficulties in sustaining good business amid the ongoing threat of virus.

 Cebu, in particular, whose huge chunk of economic muscle depends on tourism and retail, the province in general is still suffering economically.

Aside from massive distribution of the vaccine, the business leaders also urged the government particularly local government units (LGUs) to ease further the travel requirement in order to spur tourist arrivals in Cebu, which is one of the main retail boosters.

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