By Kenneth Kwama
Nairobi, Kenya: Traders across the country are cashing in on the high demand from customers ahead of Easter.
Most businesses reported brisk trade, as customers rushed to shop and prepare for the long holiday.
Yesterday, major towns were heavily congested as members of the public did last minute shopping, fearing that shops would not open for business on Friday and through the rest of the holiday.
In Nairobi, people rushed to make last minute shopping with most retailers and informal traders opening for business beyond normal hours from last Wednesday.
Uchumi Supermarkets Managing Director Mr Jonathan Ciano told The Standard that customers were reacting well to the various holiday offers the chain had put through.
“People are shopping and business is good. We are offering various prizes that include live goats to be won by customers in the spirit of the season,” said Ciano. In Nairobi, salons recorded brisk business as women rushed to wear a new look for the holidays.
There was high demand for grooming, the price of which varied according to the salon. Some customers claimed their regular salons were charging exorbitantly having taken advantage of the holiday rush.
“A simple hair dressing or blow drying would cost anywhere between Sh500 to Sh2500. I could not however plait my hair because my regular salon had raised the cost from Sh700 to Sh1500,” says Rosemary Onyango, a Nairobi resident. Ciano says Uchumi will stay open during the festive season to cope with the holiday rush.
He says the supermarket only closes once every five years, and that is on the elections day to allow its workers to exercise their democratic rights.
Long queues were reported yesterday at Automated Teller Machines late into the afternoon with others queuing in banks to withdraw money to spend during the festivities.
Transport operators were reported to have hiked fares for most long distance destinations like Kisumu, Nakuru and Mombasa to cash in on high demand as people travelled to their rural homes.
At the Machakos bus terminus, those travelling to Kisumu had to pay up to Sh1200 instead of the regular Sh800.
“There is no reason for the price hikes. It’s unfortunate that passengers are usually left at the mercy of transporters during such holidays,”said Meshak Ang’ang’o a traveller who was heading to Bondo.