ASK ANY trader dealing in Christmas items on what’s new this festive season and there is a unanimous answer — demonetisation. With Christmas being the first festival to have hit the market since the ban on old Rs 500, Rs 1,000 notes led to a severe cash crunch and ran the ATMs dry, traders say this one decision has single-handedly affected all aspects of Christmas shopping.
Though customers are purchasing goods, the overall sale has reduced. “Post demonetisation, sales have reduced by almost 50 per cent compared to previous years. We accept payment through cash, cheques and e-wallets. We have not installed PoS machines because our business is seasonal and we don’t require it,” said Grace Furtardo, owner of D Furtardo & Sons.
Since Christmas sales are seasonal, most wholesalers and retailers are not willing to invest in cashless modes of payment. Similarly, small vendors, who deal with items that cost less than Rs100, prefer hard cash.
Salim Shaikh, a vendo, said, “My products range from Rs 10-60, so I don’t find the need to install e-wallets. None of my customers have asked for e-wallet transactions either as the amount is small.” Most traders said that they had stocked up lesser products this year. Abhijeet Bangade, proprietor of Bangade traders at Raviwar Peth, said, “Keeping the cash crunch in mind, we had ordered lesser products this year. Most people are reusing decorations and the purchasing power of the customer has weakened overall. I only accept cash because I do not find the need to carry out online transactions.”
One of the worst affected are hawkers. Altaf Shaikh, who sells Christmas hangings, claimed that his sales have halved compared to previous years. “