She would not venture a 2017 sales forecast but stressed turnover could decline slightly as soaring demand for basics offsets losses in the premium and luxury categories, which are suffering from a steep decline in tourism. Profits will fall, however, as rising fuel and transport costs squeeze margins, she conceded.
Gonzalez said Christmas trade is going well but expects the hike will be short lived. Come the New Year, “when people have to start paying their bills, credit cards and mortgages, you are going to really see the effect of what happened,” she noted.
Despite the challenges, the merchant has “been improving sales very fast and we don’t foresee a severe decline in sales” this year, Baez said, adding that turnover was rising before Irma and Maria hit Puerto Rico.