Monday, 5 June, 2023

Eid shopping reaches peak at footpath shops

Eid shopping reaches peak at footpath shops
People throng makeshift shops on footpath at Gulistan in the capital on Monday as the Eid shopping has gained momentum. —Kamrul Islam Ratan

Footpath shops and sidewalk sales are bustling with activity as low-income and poor people in the capital city of Dhaka take advantage of their Eid bonuses to purchase goods at more affordable prices.

With only a week left before the Eid-ul-Fitr, crowds of shoppers are flocking to popular areas such as Old Dhaka, Motijheel, Gulistan, Baitul Mukarram, Farmgate, New Market, Gulshan Link Road, and Mirpur for Eid shopping.   

Rickshaw puller Shafiullah, one of the many Eid shoppers, purchased a frock for his four-year-old daughter at a sidewalk shop in front of Gulistan Shopping Complex at Fulbaria.

He plans to spend Eid in Dhaka to take advantage of increased earnings during the holiday and visit his village home afterward. Although the frock's price was beyond his budget, Shafiullah said he bought it because he liked it very much.

Footpath stalls are known for their bargaining culture, but an increasing number of shops now offer fixed prices. Shirt trader Faruk Hossain at Farmgate noted that his fixed-price shop attracts customers from many private sector employees.

Private company employee Mizanur Rah-man, a regular footpath shopper, said that one should not underestimate the quality of products available at these shops, as they offer good products at low prices.

Despite the apparent increase in foot traffic, footpath vendors have expressed dissatisfaction with their sales. They cite scorching summer heat, rising commodity prices, and the emergence of new clothing outlets in different neighborhoods as factors impacting their business.

Billal Mia, a shoe hawker in front of Nurjahan Super Market in Mirpur Road, said sales are lower compared to previous Eids, as low-income people are struggling to survive and can only afford to buy items for children and elderly family members.

Harunur Rashid, who runs a makeshift shop selling colorful clothes for children, also reported reduced sales compared to previous Eid seasons.

He now sells products worth Tk 12,000 to Tk 15,000 per day, as opposed to Tk 25,000 to Tk 30,000 in earlier Eid seasons.

Nurul Haque, a regular hawker in Gulshan Link Road, shared similar sentiments, stating that while customers are coming and sales are good, they are not meeting targets.

He also mentioned the challenges of conducting business amid the ongoing heatwave. However, Haque remained optimistic, saying sales were increasing every day.           At these footpath shops, women's three-piece outfits are sold for between Tk 400 and Tk 850, children's wear ranges from Tk 150 to Tk 400, punjabis are priced between Tk 150 and Tk 350, and men's shirts and trousers cost Tk 150 and Tk 400, respectively.