EVEN AS business has picked up after the lockdown restrictions were eased, sweet shop owners say there has been a drop of nearly 30 per cent in sales during the festive season this year. On Bhai phonta (Bhai Dooj) which is widely celebrated in Bengal, demand for sweets was significantly less compared to previous years.
“The situation has not been good since the lockdown began but it has improved eventually. If we compare it to previous years, this time the festive season (sales) was dull,” said Sudip Mullick of Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick Sweets, Kolkata.
The drop in demand has forced popular sweet shops to scale down production. Shop owners were hoping to get their business back on track once the festive season begins.
“After the lockdown began, we only did 15 per cent business daily in comparison to normal days. During the last three days of Durga Puja, we registered better sales and did around 50 per cent business but now again it has come down to only 30 percent of business than the normal sales during this time of the year,” said Dhiman Das, executive director of K C Das.
The cost of preparation of rosogulla, sandesh and other varieties of sweets has gone up due to an increase in the price of raw materials but the sweet shops are unable to hike prices due to the dip in demand.
To prevent wastage, shop owners have cut down production. Some shop owners in north Kolkata complain that they have hardly received any substantial orders in the past ten days. Some are adopting new ways to push their business.
A sweet owner said they are accepting “meal platter” orders during this tough time. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people in Kolkata are avoiding visiting family members, relatives at their residences. Corporate orders have also gone down.
However, small-scale sweet sellers are hopeful of a turnaround.
“We are recovering. We were expecting a drop in sales. But now we are doing around 80 per cent of business in comparison to previous years,” said Prashanta Das, owner of a sweet shop on VIP Road.
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