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May 13, 2021

Karachi’s Eid business crossed Rs30b but traders still unhappy

May 13, 2021

KARACHI: In comparison to last year, Karachi witnessed better Eidul Fitr sales this year, but traders still lack optimism about the situation. All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Atiq Mir thinks Eid business in the city has hardly crossed the Rs30 billion mark. Last year it was barely Rs10 billion.

According to the city’s electronic market association, their business was 75 per cent less this Ramazan. The cloth merchant association believes that there was no drastic difference in this year’s Eid sales in comparison to last year.

“Last year before Eidul Fitr, everything was closed due to Covid-19. In the last days of Ramazan we got a little time until 4pm,” Mir said while talking to The News. “There wasn’t any sale, nor any business.”

However, he lamented, this year they had great expectations, but by limiting the business timing to 6pm, the government deprived traders of a better opportunity to earn. “We have a trend of night shopping, especially during Ramazan. It’s not our culture to shop during the day.”

Despite all these constraints, he said, traders made at least Rs30 billion in sales this Eid. “Had we gotten a complete opportunity, our sales would have touched Rs50 billion to Rs60 billion this season.”

He said that in comparison to the neighbouring countries in the region, Pakistan’s textile industry is doing better. Other countries are on lockdown, which is why Pakistan’s textile and stitch garment industries are getting orders from abroad, he added.

“Three months before Ramazan the branded item garment sector was busy due to orders from foreign countries,” he said, adding that they still have orders for the next few months, and all they need is permission to work.

Cloth Merchant Association President Ahmed Chinoy told The News that this year’s Eid sales were better than last year, but due to a complete lockdown in the last days of Ramazan, their business was badly affected. Last year, he said, they had sales of less than Rs1 billion, which was unprecedentedly low for Ramazan shopping.

He said that due to the lockdown, they experienced difficulties in delivering their finished products to their customers. “The loss of shutting down a medium-sized factory for a day is Rs0.5 million.”

He added that completely shutting down factories for 10 days consecutively will not benefit anyone. As for the small merchant traders, he said that they experience a loss of at least Rs0.1 million with a day’s shutdown.

When asked about sales in comparison to last year, he replied that they are better but have remained around Rs1 billion, reasoning that the people of this city are in the habit of shopping in the last 10 days of Ramazan, and that too at night.

When asked about exports, he responded that after the lockdown as well as shutting down their production and import of cotton worth Rs2 billion, their exports will also be adversely affected. Raheel Paracha, president of the Victoria Welfare Association of the Victoria Shopping Centre (Zainab Market), lamented that there was no difference in Eid sales in comparison to last year. During Ramazan this year, he pointed out, the market remained open for hardly 12 or 13 days, and last year it was 10 to 12 days. “Shopkeepers have incurred huge losses. They had garments worth millions of rupees in their shops that they couldn’t sell.”

He said that retailers call him up daily for permission to allow them to open their shops so that they can at least sell garments online, but the police do not allow them. Karachi Electronic Dealers Association President Rizwan Irfan shared with The News that they saw only 25 per cent Eid sales this year and incurred 75 per cent losses.

He said that last year they had almost no sale due to a complete lockdown. “The consumer market has drastically declined,” he lamented, saying that after Eid they should be permitted to work without any restriction of timings and forced holidays.

The Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry had demanded on Tuesday that the Sindh government allow shops and other businesses to reopen for two more days ahead of Eidul Fitr.

EXTRACT

All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Atiq Mir said that in comparison to the neighbouring countries in the region, Pakistan’s textile industry is doing better. Other countries are on lockdown, which is why Pakistan’s textile and stitch garment industries are getting orders from abroad, he added.