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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Christmas shopping spree boost sales for Kenyan small traders

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- This year has not been so tough for Kenyan small traders as 2017 was and neither has it been too good to the businesspersons.

For many traders, the best they would remember about this year is the improved business environment following political stability.

The worst, they say, came when new taxes of between 8 percent and 10 percent were imposed on various products and services in the third quarter, pushing consumers to the edge as many cut purchases.

But Christmas has brought new tidings for the small traders in the East African nation, washing away the pain endured in the previous months.

New and second-hand clothes and shoes traders, vegetable sellers, cooking gas dealers and chicken and goat merchants are among those reaping big this Christmas.

In the capital Nairobi, hundreds of citizens are flocking to Gikomba, the biggest second-hand item flea market in Kenya, for purchases.

The market for the last two weeks has been a beehive of activity as citizens and traders from different parts of the country buy mainly clothes and shoes.

On Saturday, the market was jammed with human traffic as traders did booming business.

“Tops 100 Kenyan shillings (1 U.S. dollar)”, a trader shouted on top her voice to capture the attention of women. Another shouted prices of men’s shoes, while another trousers and t-shirts.

Prices have increased slightly but they are still much lower than those for new items in supermarkets.

“My children must dress well this Christmas even if money is scarce and new items are expensive. Last year I did not buy them anything, so this year must be different,” said Gladys 

Achieng, before she dipped her hand in a heap of clothes in search of the best for her two children.

The trader she was buying from was selling a shirt at 1 dollar each, while children shoes are going an average of 3 dollars at the market.

“Business is good,” said Amos Kamore who sells men’s shoes at Gikomba. “For the last two weeks I have sold tens of shoes to both wholesale and retailers. Children shoes are moving faster,” he added.

Kamore also supplies the shoes to traders who are outside Nairobi via couriers after they pay him on mobile money.

For Charles Kyalo, a cooking gas seller in Komarock, on the east of Nairobi, Christmas has brought back some of his customers who had disappeared for the better part of the year.

“I am selling a 13 kg cooking gas cylinder at 20 dollars and the 6 kg cylinder at 10 dollars. At least a quarter of my customers in the last one week have not been using gas,” he said.

The year has been tough for chicken seller Martin Kinondo as squeezed families shunned his products.

“It was a bad year for me because I also sell charcoal and the government imposed a ban on the fuel making the product scarce and too expensive that I closed the business. But I am happy now chickens are moving faster at 11 dollars each,” he said, noting he has many orders to supply before Dec. 25.

Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi, noted that while Christmas craze comes with better tidings, only those who planned well reap.

“The strategy for traders always is to buy early, like in October, cheaply and stock to sell when prices rise in December. If it is chickens, buy from farmers early when prices are lower and sell double during the festive season,” he said.

           

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