Though Eid is still a month away, shopping centring the festival has already begun as consumers are flocking to fashion outlets to buy lifestyle items.
Retailers have worn a festive look, decorated their shops and introduced new collections as they think shoppers’ sentiments have been positive despite the persisting economic woes. Fashion outlets expect huge sales this season.
Shoppers will have to pay extra for their purchases as the price of the clothing items has gone up by 15 to 20 per cent due to the hike in raw material costs.
Industry people say although shoppers flocked to the markets ahead of Eid last year as well, there was some uncertainty and the fear of catching Covid-19.
“This is going to be the first Eid since the beginning of the pandemic when customers will feel no worry about the virus. So, we are expecting a great sales season,” said Shaheen Ahmmed, chief executive officer of Anjan’s, one of the top fashion brands with 21 outlets.
Anjan’s outlets are selling saris, tops and salwar kameezes for women, panjabi for men and kids’ items. There are handmade ornaments and other products as well.
“Festivals are celebrated in Bangladesh with great fervour, and shopping is an integral part of the festivities. So, people set aside some budget for Eid shopping, no matter what the economic condition is,” Ahmmed said.
The positive vibe would come as a relief for shop owners who have fought an uphill battle to stay afloat since the pandemic hit the country three years ago as the outbreak of the lethal pathogen hit sales hard in all four Eid festivals in the first two years.
The sales during the season of festivals account for more than a third of lifestyle retail sales in Bangladesh, according to industry people.
In recent years, shopping aimed at Eid-ul-Fitr, one of the most significant festivals for Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, starts 15 days prior to the fasting month.
Rehnuma Khan, a homemaker who was purchasing products from Yellow’s Mirpur outlet yesterday, said that her Eid shopping had just started.
“As I usually do all the shopping for my family members, I have begun early. Apart from family members, I will also have to buy items for relatives.”
Adnaan Monowar, a private sector employee, came to an outlet of Aarong yesterday with his wife and daughter.
“Shopping in the fasting month is a bit difficult. So, I want to complete Eid shopping before Ramadan,” he said.
However, people mainly throng to shopping malls after the first week of Ramadan and it continues even in the wee hours of Eid day.
According to Mohammad Ashraful Alam, CEO of Aarong, the lifestyle brand started selling Eid items on March 8.
“We have already received a huge response from our customers.”
Aarong has 26 outlets in big cities and will open two more stores during Ramadan in Kushtia and Tangail.
Khalid Mahmood Khan, a co-founder of clothing brand Kay Kraft, describes sales in recent months great.
“So, we are expecting a good turnout during Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha.”
This year, people will finally be able to celebrate Eid with open hearts as there will not have to worry about the virus, said Monnujan Nargis, CEO of Le Reve, also a fashion brand.
Online-based lifestyle brands have also ramped up their preparation.
Nashid Andalib Nikita, the owner of the Facebook-based fashion brand Kabbo Konna, says she has already sourced most of the products from craftsmen.
“I hope the sales will accelerate from the second week of Ramadan.”
Brands also sell products online.
Sharifun Reba, a director of Sara Lifestyle, says it is providing free delivery and exchange facilities during online purchases.
“We are providing 10 per cent discounts on online purchase as well.”
The customers of the lifestyle brand, which has 12 showrooms, will get 20 per cent cashback of up to Tk 300, if shoppers pay the bills through mobile financial service operator Nagad.
Aarong’s Alam said the price would be a bit higher this year than last year since raw material prices had increased significantly.
“On top of that, we have raised the salary of our artisans this year so that they don’t face economic hardships. But we haven’t increased the price of the products that much.”
Khan of Kay Kraft said clothing brands are trying to keep the price hike to a minimum level.