Farmer Joe trials limited trading hours

The management of the Farmer Joe supermarket chain are reviewing the limited trading hours on Sunday afternoons and might have to close for the day due to rising costs.

The company opened only two supermarket branches on Sunday – at Vaitele and Saleimoa – and may further limit trading hours in line with the revised state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders. 

Farmer Joe Manager A.J. Cowley told Samoa Observer that the decision by the management would primarily be driven by cost as over 100 staff work on Sundays.

"[This is] because of the cost we are already incurring,” Mr. Cowley said. 

“We will also monitor this on Sunday and we may close all stores on Sundays moving forward during this current amended [state of emergency orders], because of the high cost to us and logistical factors to bring in over 100 [staff] for only three hours’ trading.”

Reiterating that the company supports the Government-declared state of emergency (S.O.E.), Mr. Cowley said from their experience a lot of their customers shop daily for their needs and do not have the resources to store chilled food.

"From our perspective, as always, we are happy to support the Government decisions and instructions during this [state of emergency],” he added. “However, we know from experience that we as Samoans shop daily for our needs and there is also still a large portion of the population that do not have refrigeration directly available at their homes so they purchase frozen [or] chilled items daily.”

The management of the supermarket chain initially hoped that the three-hour trading hours would apply Sunday morning between 7am to 10am, according to the Manager as most of their customers buy food ingredients early in the day.

"Another factor for Farmer Joe in relation to this [three hours] allowed for Sunday is the cost to run our stores and our staff for that time-frame,” he said. 

“We are already operating with limited [hours] and using our resources to ensure [all of] our staff are meeting their hours every week to support their families but we are now stretched to do this with less hours each day.

"We also believe from our customer’s perspective [that] it would be more beneficial for the supermarkets to be allowed to open for three hours in the morning rather than the afternoon.”

Mr. Cowley said the management will make a decision on whether they open for business coming Sunday after reviewing consumer reaction on the first Sunday of the amended S.O.E. orders. 

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