Retailers see drop in sales with highway open

National 2 minutes, 0 seconds

TUTONG

CONVENIENT stores in Telisai have started to feel the pinch of dwindling customer traffic barely a week into the opening of the Telisai-Lumut Highway.

Officially opened on Tuesday, the $168 million 18.6km long highway significantly shortened driving time between the capital and Belait offering an alternative dual-carriageway route to the existing single carriage way connecting Telisai and Sg Liang – where the retail stores are located.

With most motorists opting for the quicker option on the new highway, convenient stores along the previous sole route to and fro Belait said they have significantly seen less customers coming to their shops affecting sales

“I have seen 30 per cent less customers than before the highway was opened,” said Manager of Mini Mart Usaha Tasbih Sdn Bhd.

“I used to be able to sell all 50 newspapers in one day, but now I can barely sell 10. The potential for customers coming to the shop to buy goods has significantly decreased,” said Abdul Jabar Haja Najirudeen who has been working at the shop for 15 years.

He said he was considering lessening the orders of newspapers from media agencies to decrease the amount of further losses incurred from failing to make adequate sales of newspapers.

He added that similar procedures may need to be done for other products to prevent financial loss in the future.

Abdul Jabar said his customers who come to the shop now are residents of Telisai and rarely those who commute from Bandar to Belait or vice versa. In another interview, Hafeel, manager of Syarikat Metusin Bujang Sdn Bhd, also said he has been receiving less customers since the highway opened.

“Everyone (convenient stores) is feeling the pinch. Motorists that were commuting to places such as Kg Danau Seria no longer stop by here,” he said admitting that he was worried for the future sales.

For vegetable shop manager also located along the single carriageway, 43-year-old Siringsih, she said she lost 80 per cent of her customers since the alteration of customer traffic - finding difficulty in making profits.

The retailer who buys her vegetables in the capital to resell at her Telisai shop said she feared the financial spendings for gas and her vegetables will not be compensated by sales made.

“Contractors who headed to Belait as well as Brunei Shell Petroleum employees who use to come to the shop to buy their vegetables no longer do so,” she said.

The Brunei Times