Slow pick up

FEBRUARY and March are usually the slower months of the year. Suva Retailers Association (SRA) president Vinay Kumar said. Responding to questions from this newspaper this week Mr Kumar said most retailers especially the small to medium businesses were conscious that the months of February and March were slower months and had prepared for it.

He said retail business had its moments, during the festive season and in the school opening period most of the retail sectors were busy especially in the Suva CBD.

“The sector started slowing down after school opening and February and March are usually slower months of the year. Thereafter the sector picks up a bit before Easter and stays stable throughout the succeeding months,” Mr Kumar said.

“The ‘slow down’ in retail business during these two months does affect the retailers especially the SME’s as the cost of the business still remains such as rents, staffing and repayments.”

He added that the slow period gives the retailer’s time to manage and plan the year ahead.

“One of the challenges retailers face is the high level of compliance. Slowly and surely most retailers are adhering to the compliance. Regarding the connection of Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) for Supermarkets and Pharmacies to Fiji Revenue & Customs Service (FRCS), we will have to wait for the results as it has only been a few weeks this initiative has been implemented by FRCS.

“The medical centres, travel agencies, accounting firms, law firms and hardware companies (wholesale and retail) are the next group of businesses required to install, implement and operate the EFD system on or before June 30, 2018. Therefore, during the later part of the year we will be able to gauge the effectiveness of these compliance tools implemented by FRCS.”

Mr Kumar says Easter is an important event in the 2018 calendar because it is observed by Christians.

“Christmas and Easter are the biggest religious festivals for the majority of Christians in Fiji. It is a time when families go to church, spend the weekend together or head out of town.

“The Shop (Regulation of Hours) Bill 2016 Bill No. 45 of 2016 is a Bill that allows any shop to operate for up to 24 hours within a day including public holidays.

However, this Bill does not apply to licenses under the Liquor Act 2006. This Saturday (March 31) is a normal trading day, therefore Suva town retailers will be open for business at the regular Saturday hours.

On Easter Friday, Sunday and Monday some shops may be open in Suva City such as MHCC.

However, shopping complexes such as Damodar City Centre in Suva and Rups Complex in Nakasi will be open right through the Easter break for shoppers”

He said Rups Complex would be hosting the Rups Carnival over the Easter weekend and this was something members of the public could look forward to.

“Easter is observed by most Christians therefore it is an important event in the 2018 calendar.

SRA wishes all consumers and citizens a safe and enjoyable Easter 2018 break”