With less than a week to go before Eid-ul-Fitr, shopping malls and markets in Barisal have reported a significant upswing in sales due to a sudden rush of eid-time shoppers. Almost all of the city's shopping points witnessed a surge of customers starting from this week after a period of "not-so-satisfactory" business since the onset of Ramadan.
Noteworthy shopping points at Fazlul Huq Avenue, Sadar Road, Chawk Bazar, Bogura Road, Bazaar Road, Hemayetuddin Road and Port Road are now teeming with customers despite the prices of dresses having increased by 30 to 50 percent, depending on the fabric and brand name.
Traders said this year cotton dresses named after popular Indian TV serials, films and characters – mostly imported from India, are very popular with the teenage shoppers. The names of some of these trendy dresses for girls include Labanga, Bahamoni, Tapur Tupur, Sonakkhi, Ashiki, Pagloo, Chaina Shakina, Dhoom-2 and Nusrat – which are being sold for Tk3,000-Tk25,000.
Indian saris such as katyal, Jaipuri, khadi, kanchi boron and opera katan are selling at Tk9,000-Tk26,000. Prices of local products, such as those made of Tangail silk, range from Tk8,000 to Tk11,000 while prices of cotton saris range from Tk2,000 to Tk8,000.
For men, punjabi, one of the popular clothing during the eid-season, is being sold within a wide margin of prices depending on quality and brand name. A punjabi can be found for any amount between Tk1,000 and Tk10,000.
Mostly well-off people are crowding posh and air-conditioned malls, while people of limited means occupy the roadside shopping points. However, there are ample items to choose from for both groups of people.
Sheikh Abdur Rahim, former president of Barisal Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said businesspersons suffered a fall in sale in the first 20 days of Ramadan. "The reason had to do with the inadequate purchasing power of common people who are facing abnormal price hikes in most commodities available on the market," he remarked. The continuous rain experienced by the region was another reason behind the lean business period, he added.
Mosharraf Hossain, a dress-shop owner at the Haji Muhammad Mohsin Market, said, "Now that sales picked up in the final week of Ramadan, we hope to make a good profit."