Eid Shopping

Rich buy more but buying capacity of middle and lower class people dwindles

Mohiuddin Mahi

Bonik Barta photo

Shoppers in large numbers throng the posh shopping malls in the capital and buy dresses of their choice on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, one of the biggest festivals in the country. The scenario is, however, the opposite in the markets frequented by people belonging to middle and lower classes.  The number of shoppers is comparatively lower at these shopping places. And, the buyers cannot buy what they want. Having visited some of the markets in the capital, Bonik Barta came up with the finding.

Punjabis are sold more than other dresses during Eid. Recently, Illiyeen, a brand, has gained popularity. Having visited its showroom at Basundhara City Shopping Complex recently, it was found that the salespersons were having a hard time in managing the crowd. The place was so crowded that many were queuing outside the shop. And, its high-end shop. When approached, a salesman would not talk about selling as it is prohibited by the management. However, on condition of anonymity, he said, “The demand of our punjabis is so high that we cannot provide the customers adequately. We are selling more than 400 pieces of punjabis every day. The prices range from Tk 3,650 to Tk 9,250.”

Lubnan, another outlet at Basundhara that sells punjabis. Reaz Hossain, in-charge of the showroom, informed that they sell 250-300 punjabis every day. The prices vary from Tk 2,500 to Tk 15,000. Due to the limitation production against demand, it is always not possible to provide punjabis as asked by the buyers.

Kamrul Islam, branch manager of a private bank, emerged from the showroom of Illiyeen with several shopping bags in his two hands. As asked, he said, “I have purchased four punjabis. Everyone wants new punjabi for Eid. Albeit, the prices are high, I have bought punjabis from Illiyeen to make the family members happy.”      

Deshi Dosh, an umbrella organization comprising 10 brands, has a showroom at the same shopping mall. Renowned brands Nipun, Kay Kraft, Anjan’s, Rong Bangladesh, Banglar Mela, Sadakalo, Bibiana, Deshal, Nagordola and Srishty belong to Deshi Dosh. Manager M Sharifuzzaman said that they have had a good business from the beginning of Ramadan. But, business has slowed down from the beginning of April. He claimed that selling has gone down by 30 percent.

Israt Jahan, a young lady who came to shop here, said, “Eid without new dresses cannot be imagined. And, we have a family event right after Eid. Therefore, I bought three dresses.”        

The picture is almost opposite in New Market. People from middle class background shop here in general. Traders of that area claimed that although there is always a crowd here, the sale is not as expected. They said that buyers do come, look at the products, but majority of them leaves without purchasing. “Business is not good this time round. Buyers leave the shop after bargaining. I cannot sell more than 20-30 punjabis,” said Sohel Miah, a trader at Chandrima Super Market.   

Robel Hossain sell dresses on the footpath in Gulistan. He increased the stock of punjabis in the lead up to Eid. But, he has yet to clear his first lot. He can only sell 7-8 punjabis per day. Occasionally, this number comes down to two to three. “It is true people gather on footpaths. But, very few are buying. One out 10 buys something while the remainder leave after asking the prices,” said Robel.       

Same situation prevails on New Market footpaths that are the last resorts for people with low income. They shop here as things are much cheaper. But, due to the skyrocketing of essentials, they cannot afford to buy things from the footpaths. Day laborer Hakim Sobur was checking out dresses for his daughter at a footpath shop near the main entrance of New Market. After a while, he chose one, but got disheartened after hearing the price. He did not buy the dress as he did not have enough money. When asked, Sobur said, “I bought a shirt for younger son. I do not have money to buy trousers for him. The girl wanted a frock. I will take it tomorrow after managing some more money.”

Another footpath vendor, Kalam Miah said, “People cannot shop now as before. Our sale is also down. We always wait for the Eid market. I cannot make good money this time.”

Maqbul Rahman, a grocer from Azimpur area, was shopping from footpaths for his family. He said, “Dresses are very costly at markets. Footpaths are the last resort. I will go home tomorrow after buying dresses from footpath for my daughters and son. I wanted to buy a saree for my wife, but no money is left for that. I did not buy anything for me.”

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