KARACHI, Nov 18: Consumers are flocking in Karachi’s bustling bazaars in larger numbers this year. They are inclined to spend more this Eid and hence brisk sales trend witnessed in local shopping centres and malls ahead of Eid.
City’s numerous bazaars, markets, shopping plazas and even most roads of Clifton, Tariq Road, Saddar, Zaibunnisa Street, Hydery, Jama Cloth, Anarkali, etc., are throbbing with shoppers with deeper purses and pockets to change the fortunes of shopkeepers and manufacturers.
In absence of any yardstick to judge the year-wise sales — clever shopkeepers are a bit hesitant to reveal the Eid sales this year if compared with the last year. However, the current buying euphoria among buyers, new deals and discount offers by various outlets, overcrowded parking facilities and of course glittering faces of shopkeepers — show that sales are boosting and the people have enough liquidity this year to fulfil their requirements as compared to the last year.
Majority of shopkeepers, having a habit of portraying a dismal sales and business scenario every time, usually avoid to come in limelight and feel shy to quote their names as their truth about actual sales may catch the attention of tax collectors.
“Sales are going normal on the pattern of last year’s Eid season,” shopkeepers in Saddar, Tariq Road, Anarkali, Jama Cloth Market said, adding that if shopkeepers say that their sales have been mediocre in this Eid, then they are not telling the truth. They said that buyers had definitely turned in a large number this year.
“My brother or father will tell you about the fluctuation in sales. I cannot tell you,” a number of salesmen adopt this technique to skip the query in various bazaars when asked to give a rough idea about this year’s sales.
On the contrary, garments makers give the actual picture of sales. “I have conducted surveys of top markets of Karachi, Pindi, Lahore, Peshawar, etc., and discussed with market players who say that sales of all items have risen by 15-20 per cent as compared to the last year,” Director Sales, Bonanza Garments Industries, Hanif Bilwani, said. He said sales of his garments were far much better than 15-20 per cent.
He attributed the improvement in sales to stability in economy, inflow of remittances and lucrative returns fetched by the people from property, stock markets and other investment avenues.
“People have enough liquidity these days. I think people had been waiting to bring out their incomes and make heavy purchases on Eid,” he added. He was of the view that consumers’ buying power has somewhat improved this year as compared to the last year and they have ample choice to select the garments and fabric as per their pocket income. Everything is available.
Meanwhile, a readymade garment maker said that another reason of rising sales of garments and fabrics was the inflow of cheap Korean and Chinese fabrics and the emergence of garments and fabric making units at the cottage level. Their entry has played a main role in catering to the needs of common man who now feel free to purchase goods as per their budgets.
Managing Director, Cambridge Garments, Anis Naviwala, said that sales charts had been showing same normal trends as of last year. “People are out to buy products because of positive economic indicators coupled with overall good law and order conditions of the city,” he said.
He said currently there was an oversupply situation in the markets in almost every products owing to heavy influx of imported and smuggled fabrics. He was of the view that the purchasing power of people was still yet to improve due to low salaries. However, cheap foreign products have been providing some relief to the end users.
The last week of Ramazan is considered as a bonanza for shopkeepers who are now flexing their muscles to make huge catch from the pockets and purses of buyers who are bound to make heavy purchases for their children, near and dear ones.
Majority of main markets now witness the setting up of various stalls in front of shops or at the footpaths, offering lucky draw coupon and scratch cards on purchasing various items. As compared to the last year, ladies are a bit relaxed this season in searching the desired items as their husbands are acting as a watchdog for their childrens who are enjoying the bouncing castles, placed at every big shopping plazas.
As far as rates are concerned, there is no big change as compared to the last year as prices continue to crawl up and up automatically as demand reaches its peak as Eid closes near. Many retailers said that prices had not witnessed any upward change in the last one year.
A random survey reveals that majority of city markets are now flooded with Korean and Chinese peach, georget and stonewash fabrics for gents’ shalwar kamiz. These new outfits are priced as low as Rs300 per kurta alone and the highest to Rs1,300-1,500 at posh localities’ bazaars. This is a new item this year, mainly clicking the minds of young generations.
The entry of Chinese and Korean fabrics for shalwar kamiz has enlivened the hopes of tailors who have entered into readymade outfit business. Many fabric sellers have also displayed the shalwar kamiz made from these fabrics. People now feel hesitant to tolerate the “ifs and butts” of tailors whose charges for shalwar kamiz now ranges between Rs160-250 in lower and middle income group areas and Rs300-700 in high localities.
Local shalwar kamiz suits are enjoying dwindling sales due to entry of Korean and Chinese fabrics. Due to disparity in quality of locally-made shalwar kamiz fabrics — young generation are preferring to buy foreign fabrics. For example — two to three qualities of Gul Ahmed Fabrics are being sold as genuine.
A retail shop at Gulf Shop Centre in Clifton is demanding Rs80 per metre for Gul Ahmed’s cotton fabric (mix and match variety) and on insistence of consumers he offers to sell at Rs75 per metre. On confirming the rate at Allah Wala Market, M.A. Jinnah Road, a retailer said the guy in Gulf is selling a fake quality. “The original quality of Gul Ahmed is Rs88 per metre at wholesale. How can he sell at Rs80 per metre at retail level. It is a fake,” he added.
In children garments, Chinese’s entry has come with a bang and its advent has created a renewed vigour among women who are now making a bee line to buy these suits at Rs200-250. The high quality price ranges between Rs300 and Rs500.
Chinese cosmetics and artificial jewellery have been on the top priority of young girls. Due to oversupply position their prices have not shown any upward fluctuations. However, in Eid, retailers are now busy in making windfalls.
Cheap Chinese shoes have already made their presence felt among the consumers, selling at Rs300-600 as compared to Rs500- 1,200 of locally-made shoes. Even buyers are also crazy for sports sandals.
Korean, Malaysian, Indonesian and Chinese ladies clothes (crush, silk, linen, georget, stonewash, woollen, etc) are already enjoying high sales due to affordable rates. These fabrics are being sold at a minimum rate of Rs200 and maximum Rs1,500.
However, in cotton suits — local mills’ clothes still rule the markets as these countries have yet to throw this item in Pakistan. High prices of organized mills have led to the mushroom growth of mills in the informal sector. As a result, cotton printed suits are being sold at Rs200-300 per metre, carrying same designs of organized mills. However, consumers have to sacrifice in terms of quality. Ladies cotton suits are available in the range of Rs200-1,200 per metre.
The month of Ramazan is a party time for every shopkeepers to cover the losses of previous 11 months. Most salesmen and shopkeepers like to sell items at fixed prices but do yield to haggling and reduce price if buyers insist. In this scenario, attitude and behaviour of shopkeepers differ from markets to markets depending on the area location.
Saddar’s Zaibunnisa Street is a minor but graceful rival of Tariq Road. Here buyers can dare to bargain but they can exploit the conditions if they have the guts to say something pinching because shopkeepers are the magicians of words. However, in entire Saddar — buyers are seen making bargaining with shopkeepers.
Tariq Road is still considered one of the best markets of the metropolis where all kinds of things and merchandises are easily available on a long road. Much depends how the buyers deal with the shopkeepers who sometime cut the prices but not to the desired satisfaction of customers.
In Clifton, mainly the so-called neo-rich, reaching for the classy glamour, like to squander money in a big way for materials and things which are overpriced quite apparently. In Gulf, Cliff and Metro Shopping Malls — shopkeepers are seen giving discount on buyers’ request. However, at the high profile shops in this area — buyers will feel shiver to request for a price cut. There is virtually no use for making a price cut plea in boutiques and well decorated outlets in posh areas as any price cut by the shopkeepers carries no weight due to already unimaginable price tags.
In these shops, a gents kurta shalwar is not selling less than Rs1,800, which in real sense is a full salary of a worker but purchasing this suit from a renowned artist’s boutique has now become a fashion and status symbol.
Hyderi market, the second best market after Tariq Road, marks the presence of ill-mannered and rude shopkeepers who make strange faces and feel annoyed when buyers dare to bargain.
The best bargain heavens for buyers are Liaquatabad, Liaquat Market Malir, Anarkali, Jama Cloth, Saddar, etc., where prices are quite affordable and the attitude of retailers is tolerable. These bazaars are still receiving best buyers’ attendance.