Shop psychology

March 1, 2015

Karim Block Market has become the common shopper’s first choice for branded as well as local, ready-to-wear stuff, primarily because of their affordable prices

Shop psychology

Karim Block Market is a household name for those who use ready-made garments. Branded and local outfits, in different varieties and a range of affordable prices, are sold here. There are both wholesale and retail shops of garments including shirts, jeans, jackets, woollies, hoods, sleeping suits, and tracksuits.

Foreigners and expatriates are often seen shopping at the factory outlets of branded stuff. Here, the prices are comparatively low because these shops sell their own brands.

The market is not only popular among the Lahorites but also the people based in other cities of Punjab who like to shop here every time they are visiting the city.

Retailers from other cities purchase garments from the Karim Block Market. Even the wholesale dealers and retailers of Anarkali pick garments from here.

The garment dealers view the market as the hub of designs and varieties of clothes. "You can purchase export quality garments, particularly jeans, at very affordable prices," says Muhammad Waqas, a wholesale garments dealer. "All big export quality jean dealers of Punjab have set up shops at the Karim Block Market."

Waqas reveals that a pair of good quality fabric jeans are available here for Rs800-Rs1,600.

Actually, there are two types of dealers -- those who deal in export quality jeans and those who "make" (a popular term meaning a "local copy") them. Export quality stuff dealers purchase garments from the factories. These factories sell their leftovers to the local dealers at very low prices. The quality of even these is high and people prefer these over local garments.

There are some disadvantages for shopkeepers in purchasing export quality garments. For instance, the export quality garments, particularly jeans, don’t have too many articles, sizes and designs due to which these are never in high demand among the young people.

The export quality garments, particularly jeans, don’t have too many articles, sizes and designs due to which these are never in high demand among the young people.

Earlier, Karim Block Market would be called the mecca of export quality garments, but now a majority of shopkeepers has switched to local made stuff which has a higher demand among the paying public.

The shopkeepers purchase a pair of jeans from the local units at Rs445, Rs460 or Rs510, and then sell this in the wholesale at Rs580 or Rs600.

A dealer of export quality jeans Muhammad Abdullah says there are many shops in Karim Block Market that are selling "B-pair" jeans at expensive rates.

"They purchase B-pair jeans in bulk from factories at very nominal prices and sell them at high rates. The buyers don’t have an idea that they are buying B-pair. Some shops, particularly the kiosks, have been set up at the market verandas and they sell C-pair stuff. But they repair and alter the outfits in such a way that the buyers can’t tell," says a wholesale dealer.

The Karim Block Market is also popular for dress alterations. People come here from remote areas to get their costly outfits altered from skilled men. These "alter men" (another popularly used term) have set up their machines in front of the shops and they also fix C-pair outfits in order to sell them in the market.

Recently, LDA removed all makeshift stalls and now the vendors and alter-men have moved out of the market.

A Karim Block trader says that with the removal of encroachments, the business in the market has begun to thrive otherwise these vendors would keep the buyers from entering the shop space.

Expatriate Bakhtiar Butt says, "I shop at Karim Block [Market] because I feel high quality costumes are available here at reasonable prices. You can even purchase branded products from here at a reduced price.

"I don’t go shopping in Ireland," he chuckles. "I do the opposite. I pick up ready-to-wear stuff from Karim Block for my family and friends who are based in Ireland."

The ready-made garment wholesale dealers and retailers from other cities such as Multan, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhelum and Kasur pick garments from Karim Block.

A wholesale dealer from Daska says, "Garments of all varieties with all kinds of prices are available at Karim Block. I went to many cities of Punjab to purchase garments, but I think Karim Block Market is most suitable for wholesale purchasing."

A Karim Block dealer says the market is viewed as "a special market for jeans. All the city retailers purchase jeans from here. Karim Block traders are placing orders for local jeans in different units of the city, mostly set up on Raiwind Road, Multan Chungi, Kahna Road, Manga Road and the suburban Lahore.

"Local jeans are fast replacing export-quality jeans. But this does not mean the local jeans are better than the export quality ones. They are only more popular among the youth. Those with an eye for quality stitching and finishing care for export quality jeans only," he adds.

A shopper says, "The market has a very spacious parking lot. The roads around the market are wide and without encroachments. There is no traffic congestion on the roads. So, I feel very comfortable coming here."

According to Zafar, a local jeans maker who has been supplying his product to Karim Block as well as Anarkali, "A pair of jeans costs Rs450 but I sell it for Rs490 or so. Normally, the shopkeepers who purchase jeans on credit pay a tad higher than those who purchase the product on cash."

Currently, there is a clearance sale on warm clothes, especially hoods, jackets and kids garments at all the shops in the market. Even the popular brand outlets have offered their products in sale. People wait for the clearance sale throughout the year because this allows them to purchase garments at (up to) 70% off.

Normally, the wholesale dealers from other cities shop here at daytime whereas the locals visit the market at night.

Shop psychology