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COVID-19 Brunei: Local businesses see surge in customers (2020)

A customer at a local store. PHOTO: SYAZWANI HJ ROSLI

BY Syazwani Hj Rosli

While many businesses are struggling or forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some are witnessing an upsurge in sales and customers.

Some managers and employees at small retail stores are delighted that locals are spending their money, following the travel ban imposed in March.

Mumtaz bin Haji Kambuh who works at a mini-mart said, “The current situation has been a blessing for shops selling daily necessities.

“Alhamdulillah, it allowed us to survive. Our manager decided to hire more workers – especially locals – to cope with the increase in demand. With more support for local businesses, Insya Allah, this should help reduce unemployment in the country and provide locals with more job opportunities.”

A convenience store owner in Berakas, identified as Tassim, said his seven-year-old business witnessed an increase in sales towards the end of February.

“The increase was evident in mid-March when the country recorded its first COVID-19 case,” he said.

“Some people dropped by my store to stock up on items in a wave of panic-buying. Some told me they wanted to avoid the long queues at shopping malls and supermarkets.”

Tassim expressed concern about some retailers taking advantage of the situation to inflate prices, especially on essential goods.

“I believe if this continues, it will affect many in the business community,” he said.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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