Traders in garments, shoes, accessories and other allied Eid items are so far doing dull business before the religious festival that traditionally fetches them a fair share of their annual turnover and profit.
But they expected picking up the business shortly as the half of the holy month of Ramzan already passed and the Eid is approaching fast.
Though the political field relatively calm this year, rising clothing prices might have negative impact on their sales this year, they feared.
“This is a real scenario for everyone in the community of traders,” said Md Ibrahim Khalil, a seller at the Best T Shirt shop in the city.
The signs were not good so far even this time with no political unrest, he said. “My sales in first 10 days of Ramzan fell to 20% to 30% compared to the previous year,” he said. He, however, hoped picking up sales at the final days before Eid.
Per T-shirt price rose to Tk20-Tk30 compared to the last year, according to Ibrahim.
One of the unhappy shopkeepers said: “I used to get more than 150 customers daily during this time, but now it has dropped to 75-80.”
“For the few weeks or so, which is supposedly peak business time, our average daily sales are even below what we normally sell during this time. And we are not alone in such a situation. Everyone here has the same story to tell,” he added.
Thin presence of customers was seen at different markets of the capital yesterday as compared to the situation until the day before and the mad rush of the third week of Ramadan – unlike last two weeks of previous other occasions.
The shopkeepers considered that the higher prices dampened the sentiment of the customers. The city’s shopping centers are usually packed two weeks before Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious festival for Muslim community, but this year they have seen far less foot traffic.
Mohammad Mahbub Hossain, a tailor, was not busy this occasion as he usually remains during the Eid festivals.
“I have received fewer orders to stitch new clothes for Eid. I used to close booking on the 12th of Ramadan due to so many orders, but this year, I closed it on the 18th. I got at least 30% fewer bookings. It is like almost similar situation of the previous year,” he said.
Abdul Samad, a store manager at an electronic outlet, said: “Usually two weeks before the Eid, market remains open till dead night, but this year we shut our shops early.” On his sale, he said: “Sales of electronic appliances declined substantially this year too ahead of Eid.”
“Price hike of products might affect the shopping spirit of consumers this year too.” Mohammad Mofiz, a salesman at Sunflower Fashion, said clothes prices had also gone up this year.
For example, an average shalwar-kameez is now priced at Tk600-700 as compared to Tk500-600 last year. A good quality shalwar-kameez now carries a price tag of Tk1,600 as against Tk1400 last year.
Every festival triggers a shopping spree among people of all income groups, buying clothes for themselves and their loved ones, and bringing vibrancy to economic and business activities.
“But the scenario is different this festival as sales are sluggish,” Mofiz said. “Let’s wait until a day before Eid.”