Businesses are hoping to make up for the loss during lockdown
Markets and shopping malls are abuzz with activity with Eid-ul-Fitr just a few days away, which many businesses hope will help them recoup the losses incurred during the lockdown.
Visiting Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, Jamuna Future Park, Metro Shopping Mall, Shyamoli Square, Shimanto Square, Police Plaza Concord Shopping, Confidence Shopping Mall, and Rajlaxmi Complex across the capital, it was evident that the number of shoppers was significantly higher, despite the ongoing lockdown owing to Covid-19 pandemic.
Borhan Uddin, store manager of a Gentle Park outlet at Bashundhara City, said their branch witnessed 30% more customers, compared to the last few days, and hoped that the number would increase just before Eid.
“To increase sales we also added some discount offers,” he added.
“Sales have increased after the resumption of public transport. We are expecting more customers in the coming days. But on average it is better than before, at least 30-35% more,” said Azizul Islam, outlet manager of Grameen Uniqlo at Jamuna Future Park.
Najmul Hasan Bappy, manager of Klubhaus’s Bashundhara City branch, said: "Approximately 30-40% more customers are visiting our outlets. This reflects the pre-Eid rush to stores just before Eid, despite the ongoing lockdown."
The retail brand suffered losses as markets were closed for a long time. But he hoped to recuperate before Eid.
Shahid Hossain, owner of Golden Fashion, a retail fashion store, at Tokyo Square shopping mall, said: “Shopping compared to other years may be dull, but we are witnessing the rise of customers after public transport resumed amid the lockdown.”
"My sales have increased 30-35% from last few weeks. But many customers lost their purchasing capacity due to the pandemic's financial fallout," he added.
Rajib Hasan, a shopper at Bashundhara City Shopping Mall, said: “I have come here to buy my children’s dress. Eid comes twice, but Eid-ul-Fitr is special for new dresses. Prices are comparatively higher than other years, but there are a lot of options to choose from.”
Sumaiya Akhter, another shopper, had similar sentiments. “Prices are high, but I only found that a few designs are available. Many seem to have finished their shopping before most of us. Now we have little to choose from."
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Bangladesh Shop Owners Association president Helal Uddin said: “Traders, amid the lockdown, were out of business for a long time. We won’t be able to recover but if the shopper's flow continues, we might be able to get back some of the capital.”
People have lost income, shopping malls are seeing more closed down shops, and customer surge is not satisfactory despite the crowds. Wholesale business is down, while retailers are seeing only a segment of their customers have returned, he added.
He furthermore said that this Eid, shop owners will be able to get back one-fourth of their investments.
According to the Bangladesh Shop Owners Association, their shops are losing Tk1,074 crore a day due to the closure of trade on public holidays.
They calculated that each store sold an average of Tk20,000 per day. The dividend is 10% for sellers.