Categorized | National News

Food Sales Down 20%

Super Value President Rupert Roberts has made the claim that food sales within The Bahamas are down 20 per cent.

Mr. Roberts, whose company employs over 800 people, said that the deterioration has been occurring since 2007.

He says the only way Super Value survived is because City Market went down.

“Even if City Market survived the management of Winn Dixie, food sales for Super Value would have been down,” he said.
City Market stores closed down one after the other across New Providence last year after the supermarket chain was sold, which Mr. Roberts said was caused by mismanagement.

According to Mr. Roberts, Super Value did better than City Market during the recession but said that Bahamians are still cautious with their spending because they are not sure if they would be able to make the money back.

“Sixteen per cent of Bahamians are unemployed, five to 10 per cent are under employed and the other 75 per cent employed and cautious,” he said.

“People are cautious on how they spend and it comes through in the sales. With the expansion of the economy, food sales are down 20 per cent.”

He credits the success of his company to his great management team. “We come to the conclusion of what we should do to go forward and we do that.”

He says the company manages itself based on consensus and not just his dictation.

“They present ideas to me and if I agree with the advice we go with it. If I don’t agree with it then we argue it out. Then we come to an agreement. Every month we bring our first and second wave of managers and we give them the results of the past four weeks,” he said.

Mr. Roberts said that he doesn’t get all the profits.

In fact, he says his managers get bonuses every month, which he believes has been one of the big keys to the company’s success, saying “They work for themselves.”

As far as the rebounding of the economy goes, he said The Bahamas’ economy will follow the US economy and go up.

“If the politicians do the right thing it will bring back confidence. The economy is a confident thing and you put confidence back in the corner of the businessman and the economy will rise back up,” he said.

He strongly believes The Bahamas will not become just a US brand market as The Bahamas imports food products from many other countries like Brazil, New Zealand and Paraguay.

“The Bahamas always bought from the world market. The big 12 brands like Kellogs and others buy from those countries and package them there and they are sold cheaper there. That’s where we buy them from.”

Abaco Big Bird is the biggest producer of chicken in The Bahamas imports most of its chicken from Brazil.

“The problem lays in the production and the fact that feed for the chickens is not grown in the Bahamas. If it were, then we could compete,” he said.

As far as locally produced eggs goes, he said The Bahamas basically went out of the egg production industry again.
“What happened, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) years ago, was an agricultural government.

The Free National Movement (FNM) came in 10 years and forgot about agriculture. The only spark of hope we had was when Pierre Dupuch was minister of agriculture and he tried to do something. But he wasn’t supported by his party,” he said.

“The FNM didn’t support agriculture and now I think Mr. Gray is trying to. But we’ve already lost 10 years.”
He said The Bahamas has lost ground but it can still be done.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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