NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A major supermarket chain owner said yesterday that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a “troubling” rise in the company’s expenses, while also noting that in-store sales were dropping consistently each week.
Super Value Owner Rupert Roberts said the consistent decline in sales was likely a result of limited consumer income in some instances and the fact that some consumers were now purchasing more fast food rather than cooking at home.
“COVID has our expenses up and that’s troubling. We have had COVID problems. We have had about 30 cases and probably close to 100 persons quarantined. We have had the ministry quarantine the front end of one store. We have had to hire about 100 extra staff. We have about 350 cashiers. We have to sanitize every weekend and we have had to retrofit our air conditioning systems with ultraviolet lights. There have been a lot of expenses related to this pandemic,” said Roberts.
He added, “Sales are running below last year. It can develop into a serious concern. I think sales will be lower and lower and ultimately end up below last year. Some people don’t have the money and those that do are being cautious with what they have.”
Roberts said that with Christmas approaching, grocery stores are hoping for extended hours of operation.
“People are going to shop within the time they are given but I do hope it gets extended a bit especially during Christmas week as the shortened hours of operation will not promote social distancing,” said Roberts.