Fruit sales ‘not so sweet’ yet

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

IN ALMOST 36 years as a fruit vendor, Vilma Tuason, 68, said this December has been among the weakest in terms of sales.

Most of her regulars, who include government officials and mall owners, are not aware she has transferred from Colon St. in downtown Cebu City to the Chong Hua Hospital area a month ago. Tuason hopes the holidays will yield her some profits this month, as most people prefer direct orders from street retailers over buying produce in the malls.

Tuason needs to make P450 daily to cover her stall rent of P10,000 and electricity payment of about P3,000 monthly. But at times, her daily earnings would range from none to P120 only.


“Price increases and the increasing number of competitors dragged the trade this year,” Tuason said.

Dec. 22 to 25 and 28 to 31 are her peak days this month, with oranges, apples and grapes generating the most sales. Her other busy seasons are Chinese New Year, Holy Week and All Souls’ Day.

Tuason orders her fruit from Carbon. Restocking depends on the flow of sales daily or weekly. She said that about P20,000 is enough to start a fruit stall.

Condrado Mejares, 56, a father of nine, has been vending fruits near Fuente Osmeña for 11 years.

Like Tuason, he says he is hurting from price increase from suppliers, who have increase their rates by about 20 percent this year. He is banking on frequent buyers from surrounding establishments to keep the business afloat.


Sometimes, he borrows from informal lenders.

As part of his strategy, Mejares restocks every day different kinds of fruits from Carbon, Dipolog and Guadalupe, and offers discounts to regular customers.

Mejares pays P20 daily for City Hall to let him stay in his uptown stall. His oranges and apples sell for P5 to P10 each, and lanzones for P100 per kilo. These are his bestsellers.

Mejares recalls he invested about P10,000 in his sidewalk business. December is his peak season. On a daily basis, Sunday generates the lowest sales, as people, he observes, tend to go downtown.

Mejares is hoping for an increase in buyers all the way to mid-January, but expects flat sales after the Sinulog.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 29, 2012.


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