KARACHI: As Eid-ul-Fitr is just a day away, markets and shopping centres across the city have started seeing a huge rush of people, but very little sale as shopkeepers are selling garments and shoes especially for women and children at exorbitant prices.

Traders said shopping activity had begun on a sluggish note, attributing slow sales to both the high inflation and continue squeezing purchase power of general public by increase in oil prices, gas and power tariffs by the government which adversely hit prices of all commodities including garment, shoes, cosmetics etc. Eid is usually the most inclusive holiday celebration in the country during which friends and families get together in their new attire and exchange gifts.

As usual, markets and shopping plazas have huge rush. However, sky-rocketing inflation and political uncertainty, law and order in the city have dampened the festive spirit ahead of Eid, traders said, as their sales have plummeted even below those of coronavirus-hit days.

On the other hand, the tailors across the city have also increased the rates of stitching of a male’s single suit from Rs1,500 to Rs1,700.

People from all walks of life are rushing towards all modern and traditional shopping malls even at the footpaths are buying clothes, shoes, cosmetics, ornaments and other necessities for their loved ones but unfortunate majority of them rectun home empty hand.

Retail sales in the city have witnessed a sharp drop compared to previous years in the run up to Eid-ul-Fitr, retailers say, as shoppers feel the pinch of decades-high inflation.

The lead up to Eid-ul-Fitr, expected to fall on Wednesday in Pakistan to mark the end of the holy month of Ramazan, traditionally sees the highest sales of the year. But this year, the country is in the midst of a crippling economic crisis.

Historically, the market has thrived with shoppers from various areas, buzzing with activity before Eid . However, this season, the situation is different, primarily due to escalating commodity prices affecting the Eid market. Retail buyers are sparse, and those who venture out purchase less than they traditionally would.

A visit to the market revealed a noticeable hike in women garments prices across the board, starting from Rs16000 to Rs100,000 and more based on the quality.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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