TAPATIA, Venezuela (AP) Tropical supermarkets in Venezuela will open more hours, cut prices and increase customer loyalty as they boost food and cosmetics sales amid an economic crisis and protests.
The supermarkets’ new hours are scheduled to be implemented in October and October 2018, the supermarkets’ president, Eduardo Perez, told The Associated Press.
“The new hours will be for people who come in the morning to shop,” Perez said.
“People can buy their products with money and their children can spend their money on the supermarket, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Perez said the supermarkets will offer discounts on items and offer free samples of products that are sold in supermarkets.
He said they will also open new branches in rural areas to boost access to products and boost sales.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro announced Wednesday that supermarkets will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the stores’ hours will remain at 9 a.g. on weekdays and 10 a.c. on weekends.
The economy has been in deep recession since 2013, when Maduro’s government launched an economic war against the opposition-backed opposition-controlled Congress.
The protests, which erupted in late 2016 and led to months of violent clashes, have left more than 20,000 people dead.
The new prices for basic goods and services will be the same, Perez said, but he did not say how much they would cost.
Venezuelans have been rationing food and petrol and many supermarkets have closed.
In a letter to the Congress on Wednesday, Perez also said that his government has signed a deal with supermarket chain Cepeda, which will allow the companies to sell groceries online.
In an interview with state TV, Perez criticized the opposition for refusing to sign the deal, saying that he and other leaders who negotiated with the opposition were “friends of the people.”
Peso, who has led the opposition’s National Assembly for two terms, has ruled Venezuela for 17 years and won the presidency in December 2018.
He is widely viewed as a reformer who has turned Venezuela around, but his administration has been rocked by a series of scandals and demonstrations.
The government has been struggling to maintain economic growth as it struggles to address the economic crisis, which has seen inflation rise by more than 50 percent since 2014.
The government blames the shortages on the international price-fixing scandal.
Vendors, which account for a large portion of the country’s economy, have complained about rising prices, shortages and poor service.
Venezuelas food and beverage imports have dropped by more of more than 70 percent since the start of the economic sanctions.
The food and grocery industry has been hit particularly hard by a decline in sales of some consumer goods.
The Venezuelan currency has plunged from around $4.50 a barrel in the summer of 2017 to less than $3 a barrel this summer, the AP reported.