The Maltese government's decision to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) by three percentage points sent thousands of people scurrying to the shops to purchase expensive items, particularly white goods, before the hike in prices, according to a report in The Times (of Malta).
The new VAT, a tax on the final consumption of certain goods and services, took effect on Jan. 1, 2004.
According to the report, the demand for home electrical goods has been so high that some dealers have run out of stock.
"This year customers seem to be more interested in saving on VAT than buying Christmas presents," Michael Bonello, owner of Homezone, in Qormi, said in the report.
Typically, items such as refrigerators were not on Christmas shopping lists, Mr. Bonello said, adding that this year was very different.
However, this overwhelming demand would probably be compensated by a decline in sales next year, probably in the first 3 months, the report stated.
A salesman at Forestals, a Maltese retailer that sells appliances, said that business in the household goods section was brisk with items such as refrigerators, microwave ovens, and dehumidifiers selling very quickly -- and that about four trucks of household goods were servicing Forestals on a daily basis, which is double the norm, the report said.
to Daily News