The Christmas season has officially arrived in retail stores in Costa Rica and with it the hope to significantly increase their sales, which according to Alonso Elizondo, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, the expected is 17%.

Mariela Pacheco, Deputy Manager of Corporate Affairs at Walmart. Photo Esteban Monge

Christmas in Costa Rica is the most active retail period of the year, that now also includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“We are forecasting an increase in sales; however, compared to previous years, a lower growth rate is expected due to a slowdown in consumption that has been reflected throughout the year as a result of less disposable income and a fall in consumer credit,” said Elizondo.

Despite the situation, the outlook is positive not only in terms of sales but also in hiring, as companies add temporary staff for the season – an estimated 6,500 people this season, an amount similar to that of previous years.

Among the retailers looking for the season to boost their sales are Carolina Madriz, marketing manager of Aliss, who says her stores have new collections and variety to appeal to different personalities.

Marisya Federspiel, public relations manager at Tiendas Universal, said with the innovation that we bring a variety in product, intended to satisfy the needs of their customers and continue to maintain their leadership in the market and consolidate the Universal chain even more as the official store of Christmas.

Marco Torres, general manager for Pricesmart in Costa Rica, said the warehouse retailer expects a 10% increase in sales on seasonal items. “The permanent strategy of PriceSmart is to offer quality items at a great price with an outstanding shopping experience.” said Torres.

Over at Walmart, Mariela Pacheco, deputy corporate affairs manager, said the projection of sales for this year is greater than last year, but more important than that, is to satisfy a greater percentage of customers. “We have many innovations (five collections with a variety of colors), as well as low prices since the beginning of the season, very competitive, said Pacheco.

Walmart kicked off the start of the seaon with the “Día Más Barato del Año” (Cheapest Day of the Year) at all its Walmart and Maxi Pali stores, with discounts as high as 50% on more than 400 products.

The “Día Más Barato del Año” at Walmart began Friday morning at 7 am and will stay open for 41 hours continous until midnight tonight (Saturday). And tomorrow, Sunday, from 7 am to midnight. At the Maxi Pali are extende from 7 am to 10 pm each day.