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Border & Immigration

San Ysidro Sees Fewer Tijuana Consumers As Mexico's Peso Drops

Death At The Border-cross_t700_t480.jpeg
Matthew Bowler
Hundreds of unidentified migrants are buried in this Imperial County cemetery, June 28, 2016.
San Ysidro Sees Fewer Tijuana Consumers As Mexico's Peso Drops
Mexico's weakening peso is discouraging Tijuana consumers from going shopping in San Ysidro.
The formal dress shop in San Ysidro, Princesa, has seen a decline in sales due to the weakening peso.
Jean Guerrero
The formal dress shop in San Ysidro, Princesa, has seen a decline in sales due to the weakening peso.

The plummeting value of Mexico’s peso is hurting businesses in San Ysidro, where the majority of consumers come from south of the border.

Clothes vendors are some of the hardest hit by the exchange rate.

“Our sales are about half of what they normally are,” said Luz Maria Caballero, manager of Princesa, a San Ysidro store that sells formal dresses.

Mexico’s peso is trading at 16 per dollar, the lowest since 1993. That makes it harder for Tijuana residents to afford shopping in dollars.

Caballero said between 80 percent and 85 percent of the store’s clientele comes from Tijuana and other parts of Mexico.

But fewer Mexicans are willing to come to San Ysidro to buy dresses for their weddings, quinceañeras and baptisms.

“You’ll notice much of San Ysidro is desolate now. The parking lots are empty,” Caballero said.

Other clothes vendors said they had seen a significant decline in business, especially from wholesale buyers who once bought in bulk to re-sell in Tijuana.

“It’s harder for people to buy dollars to come spend money here in the U.S.,” Caballero said.

The drop in consumers from Tijuana comes as Baja California is enjoying a spike in consumers.

The state lured 9.3 million foreign visitors through July, up 12 percent from the same period last year, according to the state governor’s office.

Mexico’s peso has been weakening in part as a result of a drop in oil prices as well as public spending cuts.