BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday January 16, 2017 –2016 seemed to be a challenging year for PriceSmart operations in the Caribbean.
While figures for Christmas sales for the international warehouse shopping company are yet to roll in, data for September to November show a drop in sales of close to US$5 million.
In its latest sales update, PriceSmart said its Caribbean outlets recorded an overall dip of 2.3 per cent in warehouse sales.
Caribbean sales totalled US$203.9 million over three months ending November 30, 2016, down from US$208.6 million a year earlier.
PriceSmart operates 11 stores in the region, four in Trinidad, three in the Dominican Republic, one each in Jamaica, Barbados, Aruba and the US Virgin Islands.
The company said Trinidad, its largest market, was also its least performing market and blamed the island’s ailing economy.
“The difficult economic environment resulted in a 5.0 per cent decline in net warehouse sales compared to a year ago,” it said.
Earlier this month, PriceSmart posted a notice at its branches advising shoppers that it was forced to limit the import of goods because of a shortage of US currency.
“Due to the shortage of available foreign currency in Trinidad, our ability to import merchandise has been limited and subsequently we are not able to offer our full selection of imported products. However, we are committed to stocking the range of imported products most frequently purchased by our members. We are working hard to find solutions until the foreign currency market improves,” the notice stated.
PriceSmart also recorded a decline in sales in Barbados and the Dominican Republic; while Jamaica, The US Virgin Islands and Aruba were the bright spots, all recording increases.
PriceSmart said it was “not planning any more warehouse club openings for fiscal year 2017, but continues to explore other potential sites for future warehouse clubs in Central America, the Caribbean and Colombia”.