Boutiques cheery on Eid | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 19, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 19, 2010

Boutiques cheery on Eid

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Mannequins are pictured at a boutique at the Bashundhara City Shopping Complex in Dhaka yesterday. Fashion houses gear up for brisk sales ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr. Photo: STAR

Fashion boutiques are upbeat on the sales prospect during Ramadan, as consumers are set for a shopping spree.
Officials of popular boutiques, such as Kay Kraft, Aarong, Cats Eye and Deshal, said they are ready with an array of items, to meet demand during the biggest shopping time of the year. Shoppers have also been buoyed by the steady prices of essential commodities in the market.
Khalid Mahmood Chowdhury, director of Kay Kraft, said: “We always try to present our best during Eid. We have collections for customers of all ages and different social backgrounds.”
He said they have brought about changes in style and motifs to meet changing tastes.
Chowdhury also said they were under tremendous pressure to increase the prices of their items, due to the volatile yarn market.
“We don't know much about customer responses in the event of any price hike. So we have not taken any risks,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.
“The decision not to increase prices will eat away our profits. We however will not compromise quality, as it is closely associated with goodwill and customer relations.”
“Even if we see our profit margins slashed, sales in large volumes will recoup losses in the long run,” he said.
Kay Kraft has 15 showrooms in Dhaka and Chittagong and one in Montreal, Canada.
Leading fashion house Aarong has brought in salwar kameezes for ladies and punjabis for gents.
Sharmin Chowdhury, senior marketing officer of Aarong, said the fashion house has used striking contrasts in designing clothes for ladies. “We also tried to depict our long cultural heritage and religious symbols in our items.”
She justified the comparatively high prices of Aarong products by saying: “We have collections for all sorts of buyers. But sometimes, shoppers will cite the highest price of any product before browsing through our low-cost items.”
She hopes boutiques, like Aarong, would witness a shopping spree among shoppers.
Cats Eye, another popular fashion brand, has introduced shirts in four globally popular designs, which were previously seen in T-shirts alone.
“We saw flock, rubber, foil and photo prints on T-shirts before. But we have broken the trend and applied the designs in making shirts,” said Riyad Siddiqui, a director of the fashion house.
Siddiqui said the price of their items has increased by five percent this year after the government raised value added taxes by three-times. “So far, we used to absorb the VAT. But the increase is so high that we cannot afford it."
Officials of Deshal boutique said they have already put up their Eid items made exclusively from khadi and loom for sale in showrooms. “We always strive to do something different on every occasion like Eid,” said Mahbub Hossain, an official.
Smaller boutiques, like ABRU, are also gearing up. ABRU Marketing Executive Ashrafull Haque Rana said this is the first Eid for their collection and they are also optimistic.
He said over 200 boutiques in Aziz Super Market in the capital always offer trendy items during festivals, irrespective of religions. “Our customers are mostly young and their numbers are increasing gradually.”
Customers also seem to be upbeat but they have also expressed dissatisfaction over prices.
“The collections are huge and we think we will see more in the days to come. But prices are quite high compared to previous years,” said Moniruzzaman Sarker, a business faculty student of Stamford University.
Bangladesh spends a third of its annual budget on garments and other items during Ramadan, while Dhaka Metropolitan Shop Owners Association said the amount totals Tk 5,000 crore.
“The shoppers seem upbeat as prices of necessities are largely stable. This would be evident as Ramadan progresses,” said Helal Uddin, the association president.
fazlur.rahman@thedailystar.net

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