Markets buzzing with shoppers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 09, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 09, 2007

Markets buzzing with shoppers

Women throng a boutique on Bailey Road in the capital yesterday as the rush to complete Eid shopping gathers momentum.Photo: STAR

Although the residents of the capital usually go on shopping sprees ahead of the two biggest religious festivals -- the Eid-ul-Fitr and Durga Puja -- the low-income group people are finding it hard to buy something new for themselves and for their family and friends this holiday season.
Readymade garments and fabrics are usually the items the holiday shoppers buy ahead of the Eid and the Puja, which are arriving back to back again this year.
Traders in different city markets, where the shoppers of modest income usually shop, said a large number of people are crowding the shops everyday from morning till night, but the volume of sales is quite dismal.
The Daily Star talked to the holiday shoppers in the last five days and found out that a large number of them are quite frustrated by the sky high prices of garments and fabrics on the market.
Many shoppers said they are not daring yet to buy anything new this holiday season due to the soaring prices of garments, on top which the price hike of essential commodities is also making it difficult for them to buy anything new by constantly pushing up the living cost.
Some of them said the traders are asking for such high prices that it seems they are in it to make all their profits during this holiday season alone.
"It seems that the traders are in a drive to make all the profits before the Eid. Prices of fabrics and dresses are increasing by the day although our income has been stuck at one point...can you tell me how the middle and lower income group families will afford to buy something new for the Eid?" asked a visibly frustrated Anwar Hossain, who works for a private firm and was trying to buy something from New Market.
"I've got my salary and the bonus but still couldn't buy anything for my family due to the high prices of clothes," he said adding, "Gifts for my two sons and my mother still remain to be bought and I am searching frantically for something affordable."
Nasim Reza, who was shopping at Ayesha Super Market, claimed the traders are making 100 to 150 percent profit from each sale.
"Last year I bought a panjabi for 400 taka. But this year the traders are asking double that price for a similar panjabi," he said.
Meanwhile, readymade garments traders said the volume of sales has dropped significantly this year although people of the Hindu community have also already started their Puja shopping, adding to the rush of the Eid shoppers.
The traders said they have nothing to do with the price hike since the prices of almost all raw materials including cotton went up.
"After the 22nd Ramadan last year the sales were of 50,000 taka a day but this year the sales have dropped to Tk 30,000," said Rezaul Karim, owner of a readymade garment shop in Karwan Bazar.
"But, I am hopeful that the sales will pick up a couple of days before the Eid," he however added.
The traders also said the prices of garments have been shooting up for the last two months due to the price hike of cotton and an overall increase in the production cost.
Raihan Kabir, who was in Banga Bazar Super Market on Sunday, said the increase in the living cost is also making Eid shopping difficult this year.
He said, "I used to be able to save some money from my salary in previous years, but now I can't save a single paisa as every thing I earn goes to by food and other essentials."
Mona, a student of Home Economics College who was roaming through Gausia Super Market and the adjacent markets with her younger sister, said it took her five hours to find an affordable three-piece salwar-kameez set for her sister.
"The money I brought with me to buy dresses for both of us is already spent buying my sister's dress, I will have to come back tomorrow to buy my own," she said.
Garment industry worker, Abdul Khaleque, who was checking the prices of garments being sold by a street vendor in Karwan Bazar on Sunday evening said, "I came to know the prices of dresses for my parents and three siblings who live in Bogra. I will buy the gifts for them after getting my salary and the bonus."
"But I don't know whether I will be able to buy all the things I want to give them in the Eid with my salary. Moreover the overtime pay is also very little," he added.
Abdul Jalil, a street vendor of readymade garments in Karwan Bazar, said, "I have been in the business here for the last 20 years. But sales are poor this year compared to the last couple of years' Eid seasons."
He however expressed his satisfaction over the nascent absence of extortionists in the market this year.
"In the last couple of years we had to pay at least a half of our income to the extortionists, but this year although the sales are bad, we are nonetheless happy that we are not being fleeced by the goons," he said.
A salesperson in Tareq Fashion at Farmview Super Market said they are getting afraid looking at the dismal volume of sales this holiday season.
"Since the Durga Puja will start just in a couple of days following the Eid, we purchased a huge amount of items. But the sales are so depressing that it has become tough for the management to even pay our salaries," he said.
Karwan Bazar is one of the famous places for buying items for Zakat. But the traders in Karwan Bazar claimed that the sales of Zakat items have also plummeted significantly.
The sales of clothes that people buy for Zakat have dropped to 20 percent of the last few years' sales, they said.

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