With Eid-ul-Fitr just days away, clothing stores in Dhaka are abuzz with customers, but owners are not entirely happy as they lament that sales have not returned to pre-pandemic levels despite a sharp drop in coronavirus cases, reports bdnews24.com.
Traders hope that sales will exceed their expectations in the remaining days before Eid.
Usually, the crowd of shoppers starts to swell at 2 p.m. After a break for Iftar, customers return to the markets.
“Our store was usually packed during Ramadan. We don’t have many customers this year,” said Injamul Haque, Rise clothing brand manager at Jamuna Future Park.
“Naturally, people spend with caution. They don’t buy anything unnecessary. That’s why sales haven’t increased much,” he said.
The mall’s Aarong store was relatively busier than other stores, but sales assistant Md Sumon said he had fewer customers now than he had before the pandemic hit in early 2020.
At the Plus Point store in the complex, customers wanted to buy dresses that were priced below Tk 2,500. Its manager, Zahirul Islam, said they thought there would be huge pressure during Eid. “But there are still not many customers.”
At the Bashundhara City shopping complex, Pride usually sold sarees worth up to Tk 500,000 every Friday and Saturday before Eid, its manager Shamsunnahar Doly said.
But the sales [on every Friday and Saturday before Eid] decreased to 100,000 Tk this time,” she said.
“We have the same products and the prices haven’t gone up, but the sales haven’t. We had high expectations around Eid, but we’re not getting a lot of customers.”
Apex in Bashundhara was packed with shoe shoppers last Friday and Saturday, but manager Rubel Mia said the number of shoppers was still below 2019 levels. is not produced.”
People also buy products for home decoration. But Shaheed Ahmed, sales assistant at the Bashundhara City store of home textile brand Hometex, blamed higher prices on sales that fell short of expectations.
“Everything has become more expensive. People come to the market, but how many of them shop? Many cannot buy the necessary goods for the high prices,” he said.
Jahid Mahmud, owner of panjabi store Nabadiganta at New Super Market, said they were making a profit after suffering losses for the past two years. “But the condition is still not the same as before.”
He also said people were less interested in visiting the new market area after recent clashes between shop workers and Dhaka College students.
Tasnuva Islam, who came to buy panjabi from Aarong’s outlet in Bashundhara City for her father and brother, doesn’t think prices have gone up much. “Traders have been unable to raise prices due to COVID.”
Sanjida Khandaker, who bought ornaments in the new market area, however, said the prices of many products had increased after the coronavirus pandemic. “Earrings that cost Tk150 before the pandemic now cost at least Tk350,” she said.
Saidul Islam Robin from Kamrangirchar bought three pairs of sandals for his wife and children. “I also bought dresses for my children. It means a lot to me that I was able to buy them something for Eid.”