Economic crisis notwithstanding, retailers in São Paulo, Brazil's financial center, bet on the good performance of Christmas sales. The Union of Retailers of 25 de Março Street and Surrounding Areas (Univinco), for example, hope for an increase of 10% over last year.
With regard to the Association of Retailers of Oscar Freire street estimates are that sales should remain at the same level as in 2007. The forecasts show both sides of the same coin.
25 de Março Street, in the center of São Paulo, is the hub of low-income purchases in the city of São Paulo, whereas Oscar Freire Street is the symbol of luxury consumption in the city.
On 25 de Março Street, renowned for shops established by Arab immigrants, tradesmen expect a movement of 1.2 million people in the surrounding areas. One of the traditional shops in the region, Armarinhos Fernando, expects growth of 3% to 4% in sales this year.
"The movement is good," stated the general manager at the shop," Ondamar Ferreira, who meets not only thousands of clients from São Paulo but also from other states of Brazil.
According to him, the prices of products have remained similar to prices on Children's Day (October 12). "We even have several products on special sales prices, including imported ones," said Ferreira.
"The crisis has not affected us," he added. The manager stated that the shop receives people of all classes, as it offers products ranging from 0.99 Brazilian reais (US$ 0,41) to 800 reais (US$ 335).
According to Univinco, among the most sold Christmas products are decorations, toys, accessories and costume jewellery. The organization believes that the greater sales in the region are due to the fact that retailers did not transfer the appreciation of the dollar to their products, the ease they offer in payment, the good quality of the products sold and the low prices.
Despite this positive evaluation, the São Paulo Trade Association (ACSP) has disclosed a study that shows a reduction in consumption in the first half of December. Enquiries to the Brazilian Credit Protection Service (SCPC) dropped 1.7% in the first 15 days of the month when compared to the same period last year. With regard to inquiries to the SCPC/Cheque, the reduction was just 0.40% in the same comparison.
According to the president of the ACSP, Alencar Burti, in a press statement published by the organization, the signs of deceleration in sales should be considered with care. "Instead of creating fear alone, they should serve as a warning to the government that the society is getting ready to face obstacles that are ahead," he said.
ACSP expectations are that, despite being careful, consumers should return to shopping at Christmas. "This is the best route to face the crisis," said Burti.