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Markets in Karachi witnessing low turnout of shoppers

Updated November 16, 2016
KARACHI: Shopkeepers at Cooperative Market in Saddar area await customers on Tuesday.—Fahim Siddiqi
KARACHI: Shopkeepers at Cooperative Market in Saddar area await customers on Tuesday.—Fahim Siddiqi

KARACHI: With the exception of Allahwala and Jama Cloth Markets, traders in various shopping hubs have indicated a sharp decline in customers presence hitting sales volumes.

Traders cited hike in street crimes, sectarian violence, terrorist and suicide incidents in Balochistan, political instability as reasons keeping customers indoors.

The dynamics of markets located in different localities of Karachi vary but Allahwala and Jama Cloth market in old Karachi were said to be unaffected by the trend of suppressed activity.

Chairman Allahwala Market Association, Mohammad Asif said the two markets pick up sales from November every year. “Most people come here for unstitched bridal clothes and other items related to the marriage season that starts after Muharram”, he explained. He thought that law and order situation in their vicinity was comparatively better.

A member of Bahadurabad Traders Association, Imran Saeed Baghpati said shops in Bahadurabad are deserted despite improvement in the security situation.

“There is a possibility that customers have now moved to big shopping malls instead of old time shopping areas particularly at night. During day time I have not witnessed rush there,” he said.

Chairman All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Atiq Mir claimed a 50 per cent decline in sales at most markets after Eidul Fitr. Suicide attacks and sectarian incidents in the country have discouraged buyers from visiting markets, he added.

Traders were also worried over the ongoing political instability. They believed that people were scared and avoiding crowded places.

Owner of a boutique in Clifton’s Gulf Shopping Centre, Asif Hassan said the market was better a month back but since the terrorist attacks in Balochistan in the past three weeks, the number of buyers has gone down and sales have plunged by 60pc.

Chairman Sindh Tajir Ittehad Jameel Ahmed Paracha also claimed 60pc decline in sales in most markets since Eidul Azha. He said because of the market situation shopkeepers and traders are reluctant to invest.

President All Hyderi Tajir Welfare Association Syed Mohammad Saeed too complained of thin arrival of buyers in the market after Eidul Azha which resulted in 50pc fall in sales.

However, some traders in Hyderi Market said that sales may pick up after Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain and if law and order situation remains calm.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2016