Mother’s Day sales will be hybrid this year, retailers say
The COVID-19 pandemic has represented significant losses for businesses in Puerto Rico, and upcoming Mother’s Day sales may not be the exception, local retailers confirmed.
However, executives interviewed by News is my Business confirmed that sales will be in hybrid format — with at least 40% of the activity taking place online.
“This year, we’ve seen that because of the federal aid that has been sent, there has been a steady growth in sales from February onward. We cannot compare last year’s Mother’s Day with this year’s holiday because you couldn’t go to stores, because they were closed. With the gradual reopening that is taking place in our economy, a greater volume of consumption using federal aid is possible,” said Iván Báez, president of the Puerto Rico Retailers Association (ACDET, in Spanish).
Last year’s retail sales showed a reduction of $2 billion because of the lockdowns and saw the loss of about 15,000 employees, according to government figures.
In the midst of the pandemic shutdown, capacity restrictions, the dry law, and the curfews, shops were closed or restricted to curb spreading the virus.
However, this year is could be more favorable for sales.
“2020 taught us or forced us to buy virtually, so right now 40% of Puerto Rico buys virtually, although some also buy in-person,” said Jesús Vázquez-Rivera, president of the United Retailers Association (CUD in Spanish).
“I believe it will stay that way, and that there will be a hybrid shopping modality, since in recent weeks we have seen a lot of traffic at the post office,” he said, referring of packages stacking up at the different postal facilities.
The CUD official believes people will prefer to buy in-person to get the product on the spot because due to the increase in online sales, products take longer to arrive. Online shopping is not expected to increase drastically, he said.
ACDET and the CUD agree that Mother’s Day shoppers will buy large appliances, electronics, jewelry, perfumes, clothing, footwear, among others. They believe they will see sales recover this year with the reopening of shopping centers at greater capacities, as well as online sales.
ACDET’s Báez said the influx of federal funds will move the island’s economy.
“Right now, because sales increases are so solid, we estimate that we will meet our goals if the current pace continues. Also, the newly approved federal funds of the Biden administration’s plan, which includes about $900 million in additional funds for the Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN, in Spanish) card, will bring more additional economic activity,” said Báez.
However, those at CUD are concerned about the lack of employees and the business closures that have increased with the pandemic. And so, they hope to see an improvement for the third quarter, as well as what will happen after Sept. 4, with the end of federal incentive aids.
“Right now, there’s a great demand for businesses who are looking for employees and cannot find them. There are businesses that have had to close because they cannot find employees, something I’ve never heard of in my life,” said Vázquez-Rivera.
“So, we have to see what will happen after Sept. 4, when these aids no longer exist. But we must also see how many businesses will exist at that time,” he said. “Businesses that don’t have employees are businesses that cannot operate and therefore will end up closing,” Vázquez-Rivera said. “It’s difficult to answer this because there are too many factors at play and the uncertainty is too high.”