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Dhaka Tribune

Lockdown fears lead people to panic buying again

Similarly, online retail outlets dealing with essential groceries also reported a surge in orders ahead of the lockdown

Update : 04 Apr 2021, 09:58 PM

People on Sunday were seen rushing to the grocery stores and kitchen markets across the capital to stock up on essential commodities ahead of the weeklong nationwide lockdown, which begins on Monday.

Similarly, online retail outlets dealing with essential groceries also reported a surge in orders ahead of the lockdown, as many customers are now opting to buy online.

Visiting several kitchen markets, including Karwan Bazar, Hatirpool and Rampura, as well as some supermarkets, many expressed concern over the possibility of commodity prices hiking using the lockdown as an excuse.

Similar to last year, many were stocking up on essential goods for a month in advance, some even more.

But this was also due to the impending month of Ramadan, slated to begin on April 14.

In Rampura's Boubazar kitchen market, people were seen standing in queues with grocery lists in hand.

"I am purchasing all essential commodities needed for a month. The items I do not find here can later be purchased online," said Farzana Islam, a housewife.

“As Ramadan will begin 3-4 days after the lockdown ends on April 12, it was imperative to buy early rather than suffer later from shortage,” said Shafayat Hossain, who was purchasing goods at Karwan Bazar.

Sales have been brisk. But unlike last year, nobody overstocked on any item. The commodities in most demand included sugar, flour and lentils, said Abdul Gaffar, a wholesaler at Karwan Bazar.

Many stocked up on dry food and other grocery items in case the lockdown period was extended after April 12, said Sumon Chakrabarty.

"I have sold 300 kilograms of potatoes, 200 kg of onions, and 200 kg of garlic until the afternoon. Business has been good so far," said Amir Hossain, a retailer at Hatirpool kitchen market.

Both retailers and wholesalers were selling at prices fixed by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).

At the super shops, online orders were higher than the physical presence of customers, said sales executives of Daily Shopping, Shwapno and Meena Bazar.

The preference for ordering online is more as people are wary about getting infected with the Covid-19, which has made a severe comeback, said Md Sohail, sales manager of Meena Bazar's Banasree branch.

There is no hassle when ordering online, said Aysha Siddika Sumaiya and Nishat Anjuma, residents of Gulshan-1 area, who felt more comfortable in making digital purchases for their groceries.

Zia Ashraf, founder, and CEO of Chaldal, a leading online grocery and food products provider, said that they were better equipped than last year, as they had ample time to prepare their server for taking higher order volumes.

Last year, 5,000-6,000 orders could be processed a day, but this year, 8,000-10,000 orders are received every day and it is being delivered from 16 outlets across the capital, in compliance with the government's health directives, he also said.

Meanwhile, 1,000 orders are also delivered daily from two outlets in Chittagong and they are going to install another outlet in the same city to cater to the rising customer demands, added the Chaldal CEO. 

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