Prepared Thanksgiving dinner sales a success
SAN JUAN – The lack of electric power in Puerto Rico did not result in Thanksgiving sales declines for supermarkets. In fact, pre-prepared dinners for the holiday were very successful.
Among the determining factors the supermarket representatives interviewed by Caribbean Business agreed on was pricing. For example, the president of Econo supermarkets, Eduardo Marxuach, said many consumers sought out holiday discounts found on shoppers to purchase their turkeys.
Marxuach explained that despite Econo’s turkey inventory this year being 25% lower than last year’s, all were sold.
Mayreg Rodríguez, a spokeswoman for Selectos supermarkets, also stressed the importance of having kept prices low this Thanksgiving.
“The food industry has been aggressive with its offers,”Rodríguez said. “We know consumers have had difficulties with the passage of [Hurricane] María, and pricing has been competitive industry-wide.”
The spokeswoman also indicated that the island’s insufficient electric service resulted in varying sales levels depending on the region. Areas such as Salinas, which has power restored, saw higher sales than areas with less-stable service, which in turn did better with prepared holiday dinners.
This was also the case for Pueblo supermarkets, which had three different Thanksgiving dinner options that were well-received. Spokeswoman Isamary Catrodad believes the lack of electricity led to this phenomenon.
“This year, I believe that due to all the issues we are experiencing as a consequence of the hurricane, people are looking for prepared food at an unprecedented level. The deli area has been a positive surprise in terms of how people have found an option due to the lack of electricity,” Castrodad said.
Agranel supermarkets, meanwhile, offered a similar option this year, having a store-purchased bird roasted in an adjacent bakery.
The prepared dinners were popular even in areas with electricity. Deddie Alonso, spokesman for Mr. Special supermarkets, whose stores are in the western part of the island, said that while there was a 5% increase in Thanksgiving sales compared with last year, “our deli dinner offerings increased incredibly.”
Castrodad attributes the prepared Thanksgiving dinner results to people wanting to “take a break in the aftermath of the hurricane.” Another indicator revealing that need, Pueblo’s spokeswoman said, was the pace at which Christmas trees that were begun to be sold last weekend were bought. By Monday, there were no trees left, she said.
“People are eager to start Christmas. Some people even told us that ‘even if the power is out, I’m going to put my tree up,'” Castrodad said.
Monitoring these purchases, Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Michael Pierluisi said supermarket inspections took place without incident. He added that the island’s stores are ready for Black Friday sales.
Pierluisi also announced that during this year’s Back Friday sales, consumers can file complaints and get assistance either via DACO’s website or its call center.
To contact the Consumer Affairs Department, visit http://daco.pr.gov/ or dial 787-722-755, using call extension 14014, 14021, 14026, 14027, 14030 or 14047.