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Sunday November 27, 2022

Outlets of second-hand woollies attraction for buyers in winter

November 23, 2022

LAHORE:Although the used cloth markets operate throughout the year in Lahore, consumers flock to these markets in a large number in winter. This year the enthusiasm to buy used winter clothing remained subdued particularly at its main market Lunda bazaar (flea market).

In the past the Lunda bazaar used to be the major centre for the poor to buy warm clothes. But with passage of time particularly in the last five years the retailers of used clothing have established their outlets in almost all markets that cater to the poor and middle class. Besides, vendors display their imported used clothing at footpaths on the roads. Then there are vendors that carry assorted warm clothing particularly sweaters, leggings, mufflers on carts. Attractive gent’s woolen coats are carried on arms by individuals to lure customers. Some shops in Anarkali sell new looking warm three piece gents suits and shirting of good quality and brands at much higher than Lunda rates. Now people do not shy away but buy used clothes openly.

With so many outlets the rush at the main Lunda bazaar near Lahore Railway station has thinned. Still most of the supplies in the city originate from the importers operating from this almost century old bazaar. Two decades back it was a taboo for the well to do families to wear used clothing, but no more. Now the middle class in fact is the largest consumers of used clothing. The rates for better clothes have increased appreciably as these clothing have been imported at a high dollar rate. However woolen full sleeve sweaters in reasonably good condition could still be purchased for as low as Rs200. The rates of woolen coats sought mainly by middle class families have increased appreciably. The good quality coats fetch as much as Rs1500.

In 2020, Pakistan imported $136m in used clothing, becoming the 3rd largest importer of used clothing in the world. In the same year, Used clothing was the 64th most imported product in Pakistan. Pakistan imports used clothing primarily from: United States ($26.7m), China ($23.2m), United Kingdom ($11.3m), South Korea ($11.3m). The data for last year is not available but it most likely has declined after covid-19. Some textile players allege that used clothing importers bring in huge quantities of stock, lots of fabrics and home textiles in the grab of used clothing. Still there is no dearth of used clothing in the market suiting the pockets of all segments of society.

It may be news to many that besides importing used clothing Pakistan also exports used clothing mostly to African countries. In 2020, Pakistan exported $195m (more than it imported) in used clothing, making it the 6th largest exporter of Used Clothing in the world. In the same year, Used Clothing was the 25th most exported product in Pakistan. The main destinations of Used Clothing exports from Pakistan: wereTanzania ($31.3M), Kenya ($25.5M), Mozambique ($23.5M), Thailand ($19.3M), and Malawi ($13.5M).

Used clothing shields the poor from severe cold at lower prices. The imported used clothing in our country also supplies used warm clothes to the people of Afghanistan.

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