Slow Eid sales as prices soar
KARACHI, Aug 4: Falling purchasing capacity in the shrinking urban economy of Pakistan has led to less than expected sales in Eid-related items this year.
Moreover, rising street crimes and deteriorating law and order situation have also led to a decline in sales as owing to insecurity people avoid visiting markets, traders say.
The All-Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI) has estimated Rs40-50 billion pre-Eid sales this year, but traders in Karachi in an informal survey said that sales in the current season are down by 30 to 40 per cent as compared to last year.
However, Eid shopping is picking up pace, and rush of buyers is increasingly being witnessed at bazaars and shopping malls.
Jawed Iqbal, a trader of imported and local fabric, at main Tariq Road said that people usually throng markets in larger numbers, but they return home with meager purchases because of soaring prices and limited Eid budgets.
“Window shoppers outnumber real buyers,” he said, adding that there was 30 to 40 per cent decline in sales compared to last year.
He said traders anticipate good sales in the next 15 days depending on improved law and order situation.He said that the prices of almost all Eid related items have increased by 15-20 per cent as compared to last year.
Offering a different view on Eid sales, AKTI Chairman Atiq Mir stated that at least 14 million people, out of 20 million population, enter markets for Eid purchases.
Estimating an average spending of Rs2,000 per individual for clothes, shoes and other items, the initial estimate of city’s Eid shopping comes to around Rs28 billion, he said.
“If spending by people living in posh localities is taken into consideration, the annual Eid sales may cross Rs50 billion,” he said, adding that an upper middle class spends Rs10,000 per head, but elite spend as much as Rs30,000 to 50,000 per head.
Anticipating good sales this year despite hike in prices of clothes, shoes, artificial jewellery, readymade garments, bangles, cosmetics, etc., he said people would turn up in the markets in larger numbers in case law and order situation remains stable in the next 15 days.
AKTI chief also estimated an investment of Rs70-80 billion by traders this year and said that around Rs25-30 billion worth of Eid-related items arrive from up-country to cater to the demand of Eid and the post-Eid marriage season.
President Gulf Market Clifton Salim Qureishi said that sales are 30 per cent down this year as against last year as consumers are hit by rising prices of food and surging utility bills.
A trader at Allawala Market on M A Jinnah Road said that people prefer shopping before Iftar.
Prices of various imported items have risen owing to 8.8 per cent devaluation of rupee against the dollar in the last one year.
In absence of official sales figures, different guesstimates of the quantum of sales are circulating in the market.
However, traders habitually complain of laggard sales for obvious reasons,” commented an analyst.