BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, December 22, 2017 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — It is one week since citizens and residents of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis partook of the 2017 edition of the Discounted VAT Rate Day, and people are still talking about it.
The Team Unity Government had this year paid a double salary for the month of December, which was two years in a row, having done the same last year. By the time the VAT Day was at hand, recipients of the double salary had received it and its effect on the Discounted VAT Rate Day shopping was tremendous.
“Double salary is always a bonus around this time, a little bit more liquidity in the economy is always good,” said TDC Director Mr Nick Menon. “When I drove through town earlier this morning (on Vat Day), there were lines at ATMs at banks, the people withdrawing cash to come and shop. I think the double salary timing was excellent for VAT Day and I think many businesses benefitted from it.”
This year’s Discounted VAT Rate Day was on Friday December 15, but hundreds of shoppers could not wait till day break. This is not just a story or hearsay, but on Thursday December 14, more than 45 minutes to midnight scores of shoppers had started taking up positions outside the Courts Store on Bay Road in Basseterre.
The mega-store had offered to be open just after midnight on the Discounted VAT Rate Day, December 15, and close one minute to midnight thus giving shoppers a whopping 23 hours 59 minutes shopping spree. Courts did not disappoint, and the clients and prospective clients did not disappoint either.
Courts’ Commercial Assistant, Ms Heidi Williams talking to this media on that day informed that the VAT Day is an opportunity that the Government offers to the people as a way to stimulate the country’s economy and that at Courts they not only welcome the government’s initiative, but make it more interesting to their clients. A random five customers who shopped at particular hours were eligible to win $1,000.00 each.
“We are so happy that we are the retailer of choice when it comes to appliances and furniture,” said Ms Williams. “Most of the people come to Courts to purchase because they know they are going to get the best service and we want to reinforce that all the time. It is really amazing to see how the company can do for our customers that we really care and appreciate them.”
People did not just come. They were outside the store even before the staff came to open, and they poured into the store the minute the doors were opened immediately past midnight of the actual VAT Day. The store was open until one minute to midnight on that VAT Day.
Over at the CAP Southwell Industrial Site, the TDC Home and Building Depot had opened at 5:00 am on the Discounted VAT Rate Day. With all the parking lots at the massive compound taken, drivers resorted to parking on the sides of Pond Road, while the National Bank ATM machine just outside had long queues as people learnt that those paying cash were being offered further VAT discounts.
“It has been a constant crowd from beginning to now, I must admit in the early hours it was overwhelming,” said Mr Leon Bass, Senior Manager TDC Home and Building Depot. “The crowd really has been steady all afternoon, there is no complaint from our end here at TDC we have had many clients who have been able to partake in the VAT Reduced Day and have appreciated even the 25% that TDC has given to all the clients for cash transactions.”
Mr Bass added: “Also what we have done today is that even though the Government has reduced the VAT from 17% to five per cent, TDC is saying once you are paying cash we will absolve that five per cent for you. So today if you are buying cash actually you will not be paying any VAT here at TDC.”
To accommodate the high volume of business, the TDC Home and Building Depot deployed extra cashiers in all departments including the Furniture, Appliances, and Hardware sections which normally would not have cashiers on normal working days.
Motor vehicles sold and reports gathered on the Discounted VAT Rate Day from S. L. Horsford’s Automotive Division were that persons would have made arrangements to purchase the vehicles long before the actual VAT Day, and only came to pay and pick them up on the day.
“We had enough vehicles in stock both here and our outlet in Nevis”, said the division’s General Manager, Mr E. Alexander St. Juste. “Personal vehicles like cars and SUVs we had a good amount of them and have been sold. On particular vehicle Hyundai Creta we got in about 20 and they are all gone.”
TDC’s Auto Division’s sales both in St. Kitts and in Nevis were steady according to TDC Director Mr Nick Menon but the numbers were slightly lower than last year “but still a significant number which will be very impactful for our profitability and our group profitability at the end of the year. We are very pleased with the number of vehicles that we have put on the road today.”
Mr Menon added: “We had also a very positive day in Nevis. We had exceptional crowd in our Home and Building Depot there, and very, very strong sales which we are very pleased for. We also did very well for vehicle sales in Nevis today and our Business Centre and City Drug Store there had a consistent flow of traffic through the whole day and we are very pleased with the sales and the reports coming out of Nevis.”