December arrived with its traditional celebrations and the “run run” (rush) of every year.
Ana C. Guaita Barreto / Correspondent lapatilla.com
A walk around carried out by our correspondent team in La Guaira, very close to Caracas, allowed us to check the prices of Christmas items offered in the different businesses in Maiquetía.
Offers, discounts and promotions have been the subject of attention in recent days, as consumers look for better prices that suit their pockets to be able to celebrate the holidays.
From Christmas trees, decorations, Christmas present toys, clothing and footwear, merchants have made available a wide variety of products to satisfy the needs of ‘Guaireños’.
But… are the residents of the former Vargas State able to afford these items to celebrate the arrival of Christmas and the New Year?
After consulting several business owners in the central area of Maiquetía, we could get the prices of the merchandise offered for this month of December.
Prices adapted to needs?
As for Christmas trees (plastic), prices vary depending on their size and quality. According to the manager of ‘Muebles Sol de Vargas’, located on ‘Silencio’ Street at ‘Jefatura de Maiquetía’, the cheapest are ones only 20 centimeters high (8 inches), called “table trees”, which can be found for 10 dollars. However, for those looking for a more imposing tree, stores offer options up to 4 meters high (a bit more than 12 feet), with prices just as high, reaching $350. These larger trees usually have a greater number of branches and a more realistic appearance, which could justify their higher cost, according to the merchant.
Regarding Christmas decorations, curtains and garlands can be purchased from $1 onwards; miniature and life-size Santa Claus dolls from $10 to $50; other types of decorations such as canes, boots, stars and decorative lights from $2.5.
As for toys for children, skateboards, tricycles and bicycles have been very popular among buyers. Skateboards and inline roller-skates can be found starting at $25, while bicycle prices range from $30 to $150. These toys have become the parents’ favorites during this holiday season, as they encourage physical activity and outdoor entertainment, instead of “staying glued to the cell phone.”
According to the statement of Elizabeth Castro, a teacher in Vargas and buyer consulted by our team, her son will not have “premieres” this year because “they either eat or dress.”
“With the salary I earn as a teacher, it is not enough to clothe myself or buy basic food, because I always have something left un-purchased,” lamented Castro, who also pointed out that his 17-year-old son is n the university and is It has been difficult for them to get to the study campus as a result of the serious situation their family is going through.
Premieres or the same clothes from past years?
When it comes to clothing, for women, men and children, prices vary depending on the brand, design and garment. The stores in the ‘Cacique Maiquetía’ clothing market offer various options with prices starting from $5 and up. According to the owner of a store within this facility located on Real de Maiquetía Street the cheapest merchandise is for children: full outfits, t-shirts and pants are available.
However, despite the fact that prices are “adjusted” to the pockets of Guaireños, the attendance of customers within this market has decreased compared to 2022.
On the other hand, there are also garments of higher quality and exclusive design that have higher prices. In some stores consumers can find a wide range of styles and sizes to meet their needs and preferences. In this case, the stores that offer this merchandise at more expensive prices were completely desolate.
As for footwear, options are also offered for women, men and children. Prices vary depending on brand, material and design. Nike, Puma and Adidas are the best-selling brands. The cheapest shoes start at $15 and up, but there are also options that can reach $35 and even $60 (AAA replicas).
Despite the wide range of products and competitive prices, merchants have expressed concern about low sales, which have been weaker compared to last year. This situation has generated uncertainty in the retail sector, since Christmas sales are usually the most important source of income for these type of businesses. Some merchants attribute this decrease in sales to the terrible economic situation that the country is going through which has deeply affected the purchasing power of Venezuelans.
However, merchants remain optimistic and continue to offer promotions and discounts to attract customers. In addition, they have implemented marketing and advertising strategies to publicize their products and attract more buyers, according to Andrés Castellano, owner of one of the establishments visited by our correspondent team.
“We are offering our items by paying for advertising on Facebook and Instagram to reach more people. That has raised online sales a little, although it is not much because here in La Guaira people do not buy so much online,” said Castellanos.
Merchants hope that, as the Christmas date approaches, sales will increase and they will be able to recover part of the losses suffered during the year which, according to one of our interviewees, have been “really serious.”
Businesses in Maiquetía are betting on “a Christmas miracle” to help them get rid of the merchandise they offer, which ranges from earrings to appliances.
Despite concerns about slow sales, merchants remain optimistic and continue to offer promotions and discounts to attract consumers.