Aqaba clothing and shoe retailers face unprecedented debts and losses

(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Aqaba retailers have described a slow sales season for garments and shoes as “unprecedented” in the past ten years, according to a report by Al-Ghad News. اضافة اعلان

The retailers also say that special offers by garment and shoe shops in Aqaba have been unsuccessful in invigorating sales.

Traders said this year’s winter season was quite different from last year’s, especially with low movement of visitors to Aqaba from other governorates and no retail activity during the weekends despite the announcement of special offers.  They also indicated that ‘back to school’ sales failed to revive the sector and that commercial traffic remains at low levels.

Aqaba Chamber of Commerce member Mansour Shaath noted that traders have offered “massive discounts” on various winter merchandise in preparation for the summer season in mid-March, but the demand for winter clothes remains stagnant. Some traders believe that this is due to unstable local tourism and a decline in the purchasing power of visitors compared to the market situation of previous years.

Traders are counting on the summer season and Eid Al-Fitr to stimulate commercial traffic in the city, especially after the government’s decision to ease COVID-19 restrictions, which will enable tourists to start coming to Aqaba in greater numbers.

Shaath also affirmed that the majority of local traders have accumulated debts and other expenses as a result of the recession, asserting that the decline in clothes and footwear sales has left local traders operating at a loss due to lack of liquidity and high operational costs. According to Shaath, the retail clothing and footwear sector continues to experience a real crisis that began prior to the pandemic and deepened since its emergence.

Clothing traders pay around 47.5 percent in customs fees, income tax, sales and service taxes on imported clothing, while footwear traders pay around 58 percent in duties and taxes on imported goods.

Official figures show that the Kingdom’s imports of clothing and winter shoes have declined by 25 percent in 2022, falling to JD65 million ($91.8 million) from JD85 million ($120 million) last year.

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