The duty hikes didn’t save retail

Chamber of Commerce Retail division head Paula Clarke finally sees the light in today’s Royal Gazette.

“The numbers speak for themselves, Bermuda’s shrinking population is our biggest challenge and until that changes, we don’t see any great shift to the positive,”

Sadly the Chamber of Commerce wasted months arguing in favor of a duty hike which was supposed to save retail.

Paula Clarke, chairman of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce’s retail division, said that the couriers were the biggest single threat to the livelihood of brick and mortar retailers (emphasis added)

All this time the Chamber of Commerce could have been championing the real issue, our population decline.  Instead, all they’ve done is alienated shoppers and accelerated the decline in retail sales.

It was always a population problem, the Chamber of Commerce wasted valuable time rather than admitting the real reason why retail sales are drying up in the first place


1 thought on “The duty hikes didn’t save retail

  1. While it is true that population decline is a factor, I think it needs to be stressed that it was not population decline per se, but, rather, population decline of a certain demographic of a certain level of purchasing power that was the key. Yes, the transfer of businesses to overseas jurisdictions, and the resulting transfer of (mostly) white-collar expats greatly reduced that purchasing power population, while similarly Bermudians (as even the expat group would have in this economy) are largely ‘tightening their belts’ and so even the domestic purchasing power population has declined.

    The duty hikes just pushed the prices even beyond that (marginally, true) of the domestic purchasing power population. I can see why they tried it though, quite frankly they were a bit dammed if they did and dammed if they didn’t – try to shore up the local retail sector in face of an exodus of the white-collar expat clientele. While the focus should have been on minimising that exodus, I’m not sure what exactly we could have done about that. Even tweaking the term limits, I don’t see how that would really make us more attractive a jurisdiction compared to others right now.

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