Armenian Street traders offer discounts to entice visitors


Tending shop: Lee preparing a signboard offering discounts at her clothes-and-souvenirs stall in Armenian Street, Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: The heritage city still has much to offer, with shop and stall traders now bringing down their prices for holidaymakers during the recovery phase of the movement control order (MCO).

Clothes seller Connie Lim said her customers could expect to enjoy discounts of between 10% and 20% when shopping at her stall in Armenian Street.

“I have to offer my products at discounted rates as I do not want to keep stocks.

“It is better to reduce my profit margin and get some sales at least,” she said.

Lim said business started to pick up since the interstate travel ban was lifted on June 10.

“We do have large crowds on weekends although the buying power among visitors was still low.

“Before the MCO, I could take home an average of RM400 a day. But now, I only earn around RM100,” the 53-year-old single mother said.

Another trader, Kylie Lee, 48, said she was offering a buy-one-get-one-free promotion for clothes and souvenirs.

She also sells ice cream during the current recovery MCO period.

Lee had noticed that tourists were more careful with their spending nowadays, mainly buying only food and drinks.

“We are selling ice cream as a way to lure customers to our souvenir shop here.

“We put up a few tables for them to step in and quench their thirst.

“Once they come in, we will have the opportunity to promote our products.

“But even with promotions, business is slow as most tourists prefer sightseeing rather than spending on non-essential items,” she said.

Before the MCO, many foreign tourists from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China would come to check out their premier gifts, Lee said.

“We closed for more than three months and only reopened at the end of June.

“We suffered a 95% drop in business,” she said.

Besides tourists from neighbouring states, Lee said there were also those from big cities who came here for a short break over the weekends.

“Before the MCO, we used to have big crowds even on weekdays, as there were cruise ship tourists coming in,” she said.

Nowadays, the police patrolled often to ensure that the streets are safe for tourists and that traders adhere strictly to the standard operating procedure, she said.

Both Lim and Lee hoped the state government would propose a collective initiative to help the traders boost their businesses in Armenian Street.

A check at Chew Jetty here found that many stalls were still closed since the MCO was implemented on March 18 to help the country flatten the curve of Covid-19 infections.

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