TRADERS COMPETE FOR BGN120MN, TO BE SPENT BY CUSTOMERS AROUND CHRISTMAS
About BGN120MN will be additionally spent around the Chrismas and New Year holidays, NGOs of consumers in Bulgaria forecast. They recall that December is the strongest period for both wholesale and retail trade, followed by three months of the lowest sales during which the market is practically restricted to the purchase of basic commodities. The BGN120MN includes money, released by the Government as additional payment to the pensions and budget salaries of teachers and officials. These additional funds are mainly distributed between heating bills (which consume 40-50% of the citizens' December budget on average) and the purchase of presents, foods, drinks and clothes. Quite logically, the sellers of such articles are most aggressive in attracting customers and most generous as advertisers. An analysis of the ads market in the national mass media for the November 20 - December 15, 2003 period shows that the mobile operators M-Tel and Globul are most active. The money invested by them even exceed the traditionally strong pre-Christmas ads campaigns of Coca-Cola and Procter Gamble. Among the leading advertisers are also the chocolate producer Nestle-Bulgaria and the importers of cosmetics and office equipment. If the volume of sales directly depends on the ads budgets, mobile telephones, imported cosmetics and luxury chocolates, should be the mostly purchased articles before the holidays.Sellers resort to one more way for attracting clients - the traditional December discounts. According to the Federation of Consumers, however, traders in Bulgaria use a specific tactic. They raise the price twice and after that advertise 50% discounts. There are real discounts only in March, at that of winter clothes and shoes, traders in Sofia admit. The reverse process goes on in the group of foodstuffs. Staple foods, such as meat, dairy products, drinks, etc. are gradually hiked. This is particularly true about citrus fruits, which Bulgarians traditionally buy in larger quantities around Christmas. Retail prices of bananas reached their lowest level for 2003 - BGN0.70-0.80/kg a month ago; now they are already sold at BGN1.30-1.50/kg and according to some forecasts will go up to BGN2.00-2.20/kg around the holidays. Oranges have also been hiked to BGN1.30/kg and their retail prices are expected to reach BGN1.50-1.80/kg in end-December. Hypermarket and supermarket chains, such as Metro, Billa, Fantastico and Oasis, will have the largest turnover during the holiday season. According to experts, the turnover of Metro in Sofia will jump by 35-40% in December 15-31 as compared to the same period of November. The Fantastico chain has increased 25% its orders for supply of products. Importers of cosmetics and perfumeries rely on 50% higher sales. By December 15 owners of warehouses for wholesale of foods had already supplied higher stocks in order to meet the increased demand.