THEIR LIVELIHOODS hit hard by Covid-19, the festival of Dhanteras — considered auspicious for new purchases — gave traders new hope of happier times as sales picked up rapidly on Thursday itself.
Traders are hoping to recover their losses incurred in the last few months due to the pandemic over the next day few days leading to Diwali. Charanjiv Singh, chairman of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said they had not expected that sales will pick up. “Even post the lockdown, our sales were just 25 per cent, but now they have gone up to 90 per cent. It will be so on Diwali as well,” he said.
“We traders have suffered the most, with many of us facing huge losses as shops were all shut. It appears people were so fed up of the coronavirus and the lockdown that they have all come out together to enjoy the festive season,” he added.
WINDFALL AT ELANTE
Meanwhile, at Chandigarh’s swish Elante Mall, footfall has drastically increased and sales across categories were 65 per cent higher as compared to last year’s Navaratri season. Elante clocked 40 per cent more sales during the first week of November. The otherwise bustling mall had remained deserted for the past several months, and shop owners were struggling to pay the steep rent. Now, the mall is expected to clock 50 per cent of the footfall they received during Diwali last year. “Last Diwali, categories like ethnic fashion, electronics, entertainment categories did well. In the new normal, we are expecting fashion, electronics, food and beverages, and gifting categories to do well,” said a statement issued by the mall.
JEWELLERS EXPECT SALES TO PICK UP FURTHER
Meanwhile, there was huge rush witnessed at major jewellery showrooms of the city.
Rajiv Sahdev, president of the Chandigarh Jewellers’ Association, said their sector was the most affected, but sales are gradually picking up now. “Even before Dhanteras, there has been an increase of over 25 per cent in sales. One reason of sales picking up could also be that people could not purchase anything the entire year, and even during Navratras, due to the fear of Covid-19,” he added.
Traders have hiked prices of hampers and other gifting material to recover losses they suffered during the lockdown.
Gift hampers of sweets and assorted chocolates at sweet shops, that were priced at around Rs 950 last year, have been priced at around Rs 1,600 this year.
CATERING INDUSTRY STILL SUFFERING
Traders stated that the catering industry has suffered the most due to the pandemic, and still continues to bear losses. “People have begun making other purchases, but they are not gathering and holding celebrations. The catering industry has not picked up at all,” said Charanjiv Singh.
“Earlier during festive season, people used to hold pre-Diwali dinners, where caterers were called. But now due to Covid-19 it is not the same,” he added.
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