Shopping frenzy as Christmas fever intensifies

Food markets and shopping malls in and around Kigali City bustled with customers yesterday as several shoppers stormed them to make last minute purchases in preparation for Christmas and the New Year. The city centre was characterized by traffic congestion while sidewalks were swarmed with shoppers.
shoppers at Simba supermarket decided to offer a discount of 5 percent to attract more clients.The New Times / J. Mbanda.
shoppers at Simba supermarket decided to offer a discount of 5 percent to attract more clients.The New Times / J. Mbanda.

Food markets and shopping malls in and around Kigali City bustled with customers yesterday as several shoppers stormed them to make last minute purchases in preparation for Christmas and the New Year.

The city centre was characterized by traffic congestion while sidewalks were swarmed with shoppers.

“I took my time to check out the places with the best prices so that I do not lose a lot of money as I shop for my family. You know some shop owners hike prices in such a period, but if you carry out your research, you will find out those who offer discounts,” Joyce Uwera, a customer we found at Simba Supermarket said.

Simba Supermarket offered a discount of 5 percent on all its commodities, in a promotion that is running until December 31; Nakumatt on the other hand offered a discount of 10 percent only on Samsung products.

The competition for customers forced smaller stores to offer discounts as well, such as Jireh Shop, located near Nakumatt, which offered 30 percent and 50 percent on various items.

Surprisingly traders in Nyabugogo and Kimironko markets maintained original prices for basic foodstuffs, which, according to some of them, the prices are fair enough.

For example, a kilogramme of sugar in both markets stayed at Rwf 1,200, a kilo of rice at Rwf 750 and a kilo of Irish potatoes at Rwf 150.

“Why do I have to hike or lower the price for my products? If I lower the price, I will not get enough money to enjoy during the festive period, and if I hike the price, I may not get enough customers. Maintaining the price is the best option because competition in the market is high,” Jean Baptiste Rukundo, a trader in Nyabugogo, told The New Times.

The Manager of Simba Supermarket, Justin Ngarambe, said traders usually anticipate an increase in the purchasing power of customers, particularly during the festive season, adding that discounts must be coupled with an increase in stock.

“It would not be a brilliant business idea to offer discounts without thinking about the stock you have because you might run out of what to sell. We increased our stock by 30 percent in preparation for this, and so far it is paying off well.

Traders said that although they are experiencing a high number of shoppers now, they expect the number to sharply increase next week as more people gear up for the New Year.

ivan.mugisha@newtimes.co.rw

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