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MALTATODAY 28 November 2021

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16 NEWS maltatoday | SUNDAY • 28 NOVEMBER 2021 Stop the spread of infection Stay home if you are sick Wash your hands regularly Cover your coughs and sneezes LUKE VELLA ELECTRONIC stores reported good sales for Black Friday but lost out on revenue as a result of global supply chain bottlenecks, an SME lobbyist said. Abigail Mamo, CEO of the Chamber for SMEs, said most electronic stores could not get their hands on the amount of stock they needed. "Unfortunately, Malta is such a small market, that foreign suppli- ers can afford to shut the country out when they are faced with cer- tain issues," she said. Black Friday, which is charac- terised by wide-ranging discounts in shops, attracts consumers, par- ticularly to electronic items. The sector experienced business levels similar to those of 2019 but many retailers ended up with a weak level of supply and lost out on revenue, according to Mamo. The global supply chain has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pan- demic, leading to port congestions and a shortage of containers. De- livery times have stretched and prices have gone up. Black Friday has become a main- stay in the shopping calendar and one that retailers wait for in the run-up to the Christmas season. In its initial analysis of this year's appointment, the Chamber of SMEs said retailers reported "de- cent" Black Friday sales with im- provements over last year. However, sales levels still fell shy of 2019 for some sectors, an indication that consumption has not yet overcome the ill-effects of COVID-19. Mamo told MaltaToday that sectors like footwear, clothing and jewellery had hoped for better consumer activity. "This was mainly due to the pan- demic and the fact that less activ- ities are being held. The timing of the emergence of the new COV- ID variant, couldn't have been worse," she added. On Friday, the World Health Organisation said a new mutant COVID virus detected first in South Africa was of significant concern. This has raised alarm bells worldwide with countries rushing to contain the spread. Mamo said the lobby group is monitoring developments with the new COVID variant but add- ed there has been no indication from the Maltese authorities of any imminent closures and re- strictions. "We will hold discussions with the authorities should this occur. The worst thing that could hap- pen is to close off part of the econ- omy," she said. Retailers have been waiting for the coming Christmas period to boost sales and recoup some of the losses experienced during the pandemic. Black Friday success for electronic stores hampered by supply issues Chamber of SMEs monitoring ongoing developments with new COVID variant

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