Sunday 24 May, 2020

Trade Minister tells supermarkets: Lower prices mean more customers

Keeping profit margins down will attract greater sales from consumers.

That was the advice from Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon in response to an advisory by the Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT) advising of impending increases in food prices.

Speaking at a media conference at the Ministry’s Port-of-Spain office on Tuesday, the Minister said she was unaware of any general increase in grocery items.

She noted that conversations with the National Flour Mills and Nutrimix confirmed that there would be absolutely no price increase on flour, a basic food item.

NFM indicated that it would be raising the price points on some of its goods, including pet food products, soybean oil and roti mix, but would be maintaining the price of flour.

Nutrimix gave the same commitment, she said.

Reiterating the Ministry’s position expressed immediately following SATT’s announcement, Gopee-Scoon urged supermarket owners, manufacturers and distributors to consider the consumer in the pricing of its goods.

"So I know nothing about a general increase in all supermarket items. I don't know where that came from. And my advice to the Supermarket Association was to look at their processes, look at their efficiencies and to make sure that they always think about the consumer in ensuring that their prices are affordable."

She encouraged them to keep goods reasonably priced for shoppers, as much as possible.

The Minister commended groceries like Xtra Foods, which runs a Plenty for $20 special, as she urged customers to shop around and take advantage of sales, discounts and deals as much as they can.

She stressed that there are many options available to consumers to ensure that they get the best value for money.

"Choice is there. And I really do encourage all of us, as consumers, to be sensible about how we spend our money and ensure that we always get value for money in everything that we do."

Gopee-Scoon, who admitted that she was not a business person, also urged supermarket owners to offer as many deals as possible, as she said this would only attract more customers and increase profits for the supermarket owners.

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