Businesses in Labasa Town have been able to survive the economic impact of COVID-19 as the landlords provided upto 60 percent discount on rent for three months.
The President of the Labasa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Satish Kumar says there was an 80 percent drop in sales in the second quarter of this year and they had to ask the landlords to reduce the rent.
Rent for businesses in Labasa varies from $2,500 to $7000.
He says most businesses were struggling and unable to pay rent.
Kumar says through an assessment, it was found that one major retail shop did only $20 worth of sale for a day in this period.
Kumar also confirms that 4 retail shops closed down during this period and have been replaced by other businesses.
He says consumer spending picked up during Diwali but was still low compared to previous years as people are on saving mode.
He adds there has not been any significant layoffs or reduced hours of work for staff.
Kumar confirms that the shipment of Christmas related items from China is expected to be delayed and they may receive the items after Christmas.
Kumar says the ship was expected to arrive in Fiji next Thursday however they have been informed that it will arrive on the 24th of next month and the retailers may not have new stock for Christmas.
He says because of COVID-19, less number of containers are being shipped from one country to another and this is why there is a delay.
Kumar says some of the items that were expected to arrive early next month include those that have attracted major duty reduction in the 2020/2021 National Budget.
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