'Now we have a warehouse full of products worth Tk10 crore, but nowhere to sell'
The fashion industry is facing a severe and adverse impact from the coronavirus crisis in the month of Ramadan, a month that generates approximately 60% of the industry’s annual profits.
The fashion industry largely banks on sales generated during the Eid festival to turn a profit.
Many are exploring selling their product lines online but the initiative is not expected to amount to much for the industry when compared to the lost revenue, commented several employees working at various fashion stores.
“Production to meet demand for the Eid festival started six months ago and now we have a warehouse full of products worth Tk10 crore, but nowhere to sell,” said Towhid Chowdhury, director of Easy Fashion.
Going online on Facebook or e-commerce websites for selling the products could potentially amount to only 1%, or Tk10 lakh of their targeted sales as most people are not familiar with buying online and not in a state of mind to shop in this pandemic, according to Chowdhury.
“We will witness deep losses if the current situation continues and it may lead to sacking around 500 out of 2,500 employees at our company,” added Chowdhury.
The industry may be saved from grave damage if the government helps by providing workers wages for three months and waives interest on loans, said an employee at fashion store Yellow.
There are five lakh people working for around five thousand companies in the fashion industry who are currently in a difficult position, said Khalid Mahmood Khan, owner of Kay Kraft and an executive committee member of the Fashion Entrepreneurs Association of Bangladesh.
He said Ramadan is a crucial month for the industry as it generates around 60% of the yearly profit.
“The industry already faced a loss of Tk2,000 crore during Pohela Boishakh and now the losses may increase to Tk6,000 crore if traders can’t sell,” added Khan.
The president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Sheikh Fazle Fahim, encouraged traders to engage in e-commerce and to sell products online.
Selling online can help small entrepreneurs to overcome their damages, he added.
Instructions will be provided next week for upazila and district entrepreneurs, said the president.
Earlier, the Entrepreneurs Association of Bangladesh demanded an incentive fund of Tk500 crore for employees so they can survive and do not lose their jobs.