HIGH commodity prices, particularly those of sugar, are likely to dampen the performance of small retailers and eateries during the year-end holidays, which are normally a period of strong sales, an industry association said.

Gregoria Jaradal, Treasurer the Philippine Association of Stores and Carinderia Owners, Inc., said members are struggling because the prices of their inventory or ingredients have risen sharply. 

“I think that the upcoming Christmas is not good because our prices are increasing, especially for sugar, which is important for people, especially the poor,” Ms. Jaradal said during a radio interview on Sunday.   

“We can’t do anything because when we bought our stocks at the supermarket or wet market, prices had risen. So, we also need to increase our prices,” she added.  

According to Ms. Jaradal, sales of small retailers, known as sari-sari stores, and carinderias, or roadside eateries, have been affected by the shortage of softdrinks, production of which has stalled due to the sugar shortage.  

“The problem is that the prices of softdrinks are high and the supply is tight,” Ms. Jaradal said.  

Ms. Jaradal also said that the price of canned goods sold in sari-sari stores has increased.   

She added that carinderias have already reduced the quantity of the food served to customers due to rising costs. 

Recently, the government entered into an agreement with SM, Robinsons, and Puregold supermarkets to sell white refined sugar at P70 per kilogram (/kg). Sugar was selling for as much as P110/kg during the shortage. 

The government is hoping to import 150,000 metric tons to address the shortage. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave