Almost half of the respondents of a GRTU survey said they expect this year’s Christmas sales to be the same as last year's.
Most have added that this meant nothing good as sales last year had already taken a downward plunge. A further 36 per cent anticipated a decrease in sales with only 19 per cent expecting their sales to increase.
The GRTU said retailers were upset that the utility bills have just been sent out as they are afraid that money put aside to buy gifts will now be used to settle bills.
63 per cent said they do not think Christmas shopping has yet started even though they admitted this might be true only for their area. Christmas shopping is expected to start next Monday, being a public holiday and a long weekend.
Two thirds of respondents said that since Christmas would come on Saturday most consumers would leave it to the very last week to make their purchases and therefore the week leading to Christmas is expected to be the busiest. Over 30 per cent said that next week might be busier than Christmas week and a minority said that the week leading to new year would be busiest mostly because of salary and sale issues.
Retailers outisde Valletta and Sliema were all disappointed that no decorations were out up, saying the atmosphere really encourages people. Another frequent complaint was the parking problem in the majority of the localities.
"Consumers want to relax and not spend hours going round in circles in a desperate attempt to find parking and get frustrated in doing so,” the GRTU said.
GRTU also asked retailers if there was a product that was standing out as the most frequent amongst the consumer demands. This year the spotlight seems to be on LED TVs, net books, toy Characters such as Toy Story 3, and inevitably the most innovative, the cheapest and the classic perfume, silver and latest fashion accessory.