DTI backs virtual sales, promos to revive economy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 4) — Customers clicking 'add to cart' may help give the economy a much-needed lift, a Cabinet official said.

Virtual sales and promos will help "revitalize and re-stimulate demand in the economy," Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told CNN Philippines' Rico Hizon on Friday.

This is a strategy employed by business chambers and organizations in Cebu, with the province gearing up for its first-ever virtual industry-wide sale.

Over a hundred businesses are teaming up for the Great Cebu Sale, which will be featuring products such as clothing brands, appliances, gadgets, furniture and food. The sale will run from September 15 from October 31.

To avoid crowding, orders will be placed online or by phone. Shoppers may either get their items delivered to their homes or claim their orders at designated pick-up points.

"Now that we’ve been downgraded to (the) lowest alert level — MGCQ (modified general community quarantine), what we really need right now is to stir up consumer confidence," said Camille Aldeguer, vice president of the Philippine Retailers Association-Cebu.

Lopez supported the sale, saying Cebu set a "good example" and the department will be encouraging its commercial centers to conduct similar events.

Job stability to help restore consumer confidence

Lopez said people will spend more if they see job stability.

"Pag may trabaho ang tao, komportable siyang gumastos at bumili and that will stimulate again the economy," the Trade chief explained.

[Translation: If one has a job, he feels more comfortable spending and shopping and that will stimulate again the economy.]

He also welcomed the easing jobless numbers, with more people going back to the daily grind as quarantine restrictions are eased.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported a 10 percent unemployment rate — around 4.6 million jobless adults — in July, lower than April's all-time high of 17.7 percent or 7.3 million Filipinos without work.

CNN Philippines correspondent in Cebu Dale Israel and senior correspondent Lois Calderon contributed to this report.