by Anesta Henry
(Barbados Today) – Customers at minimart and village shops across the island are complaining about having to pay more for basic food supplies and other necessities, but the operators of these establishments insist they have had no choice but to pass on increased costs to consumers.
Several shop proprietors who spoke to Barbados TODAY said even though they sympathise with customers who are feeling the pinch of the increased cost of living, they were in the same boat as they were also facing higher bills from suppliers.
Many reported that customers have been shopping with caution in recent months. They also reported a shortage of some items, and noted that retailers have been warning that more items may become unavailable in the coming months.
A representative at Jamoon Enterprises Limited, who said customers had been constantly complaining about higher price tags, confirmed that the minimart had raised the prices of some items at least three times within the last year.
“Pig tails went up twice last year and once this year. Cheese went up once this year and twice last year. Just now biscuits going up for the second time this year. Things will get worse and a lot of things out of stock and you will not see certain things maybe not until next year. Tuna was out of stock for a while and a certain brand of coconut milk out of stock for months now,” the representative said.
“Cooking oil isn’t an issue, it is in stock, but the prices for oil really going up. Things like cheese, eggs, chicken, butter, milk, bread and things that people use every day went up and still going up. But we cannot do any better at this time. We still have rent to pay and other overheads and we still have to make a profit.”