- Traders say Eid-related sales amounted to Rs 50 billion compared to last year’s Rs70 billion
Despite the overall improvement in law and order situation in Karachi, Eid shopping was down by 40 per cent this year, according to industry estimates.
Eid-related sales amounted to Rs 50 billion this year compared to last year’s Rs70 billion, All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Atiq Mir told Pakistan Today on Friday.
The representative body of Karachi-based traders estimates Eid related business based on investment traders make ahead of Eid and the market response, especially during the last two weeks of Ramzan.
Traders were waiting for this season for last six months as 250 markets (temporary and permanent) were set up at as many as 25 venues, Mir said but it turned out to be a low sales season as shopkeepers were not able to meet their targets. Last year business activity spanned over 20 days ahead of Eid, Mir said, adding this year it shrank to eight days.
The main reasons behind this years’ decline have yet to be ascertained as the overall law and order situation remained better and inflation was relatively stable. However, traders were of the opinion that majorly weaker buying power of masses resulted in fewer sales. “The consumer preference shifted to food expenses,” said Mir. “This year food items like fruit and other Iftar and Sehr items’ prices were doubled and the salaries remained the same, therefore the general public preferred to meet the basic needs first,” he added.
The weak purchasing power remained on the top, but there were other factors like extreme hot weather and rains that followed along with prolonged power breakdowns and traffic jams that also caused Eid sales to drop.
Though garment and shoe prices remained the same, some retailers tried sale discounts but it did not work as per expectations, Mir said.
Jamil Paracha, the All-Sindh Tajir Ittehad chairman, seconded Mir saying, “Someone who bought four dresses for his children last year could buy only one or two items this year.”
Paracha said this year people spent Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 on Eid shopping, while lower-than-expected sales hurt the profitability of most businessmen.
Traders think that the murder of renowned Qawal Amjad Sabri and the abduction of the Sindh High Court chief justice’s son ahead of Eid were the big incidents which along with a surge in street crimes might have discouraged people from shopping.
Mir said four per cent tax on bank transactions also affected business activity. “For instance, if a trader has to pay one million he makes 20 cheques to make that payment to avoid this tax, he added.