Business in warm clothes in Chattogram has been gaining momentum as people have started to flock to different markets of the city with the gradual fall in temperature just before the coming of winter.
According to business houses, the warm clothes sector in the wholesale and retail markets of Chattogram will fetch more than Tk1,000 crore this season.
Zahur Hawkers Market, a wholesale and retail market, is a popular destination for the middle and lower middle classes of Chattogram for purchases of warm clothes.
Tipu Sultan, owner of Binimoy Store in Zahur Market, told The Business Standard, "We sell clothes such as shirts, trousers and t-shirts in the rest of the year. But in winter we sell warm clothes."
"In our market girls' sweaters and jackets cost from Tk200 to Tk800, boys' sweaters from Tk100 to Tk500, boys' jackets from Tk300 to Tk3,000, children's sweaters from Tk50 to Tk600, mufflers from Tk40 to Tk200," he said.
Elias Uddin, former office secretary of Zahur Hawkers Business Association, said, "Zahur Hawkers Market has more than 800 shops, among which are 200 big shops and 300 medium shops. The others are small shops."
Elius Uddin said, "Every day this winter, the small shops will have a business of Tk5,000-Tk6,000, medium shops Tk15,000 to Tk20,000 and big shops Tk40,000 to Tk45,000. We are expecting business to the tune of Tk100 crore in the next three months in this market."
Around 15,000 shops are situated in 110 markets in the Tamakumandi Lane, one of the busiest business areas in Chattogram city, and 35% of them sell warm clothes during winter, said Mozammel Haque, joint general secretary of the Tamakumandi Lane Merchant Association.
"It is difficult to give a formal estimate of the total business earnings from sales of warm clothes here. But we unofficially estimate that warm clothes worth more than Tk1 crore are being traded every day."
However, a businessman at the market said on condition of anonymity that around 50% of the shops in Tamakumandi are selling warm clothes this season. "If each of the 7,500 shops does business worth Tk10,000 daily, in three months the amount would be more than Tk450 crore."
"We think that in the next three months, the total turnover will be at least Tk700 crore," he added.
Traders in Khatunganj, Chattogram, are involved in the wholesale business of consumer goods throughout the year. However, in winter, traders of 50 to 60 shops in Amin Market import old winter clothes.
Traders said that bundles of old clothes are brought from Taiwan, Korea and Japan through the port. Businessmen from greater Chattogram, including the city's Hawkers Market, have bought clothes from here. The buyers of these clothes are people in the low-income category.
The traders are expecting business of at least Tk50 crore from these old clothes this season.
These old warm clothes are mostly being sold on the footpaths of the city, especially beside New Market, and at KC Dey Road, Laldighir Par, Andarkella, Bandartila, Dui Number Gate, Bahaddarhat, Agrabad and Bayezid Bostami areas.
In Teri Bazar, the traditional cloth market of Chattogram, about three thousand shops in 62 markets are selling warm clothes.
Abdul Mannan, general secretary of Teri Bazar Traders Association, told The Business Standard, "Teri Bazar is famous for its garments and cosmetics. We have a special focus on children's clothes here. However, it is still too early to predict earnings from the business this season."
Meanwhile, artisans have remained busy in the quilt and mattress shops to meet demand for the winter. Many old blankets are also being sold on different footpaths in the city.
Sirajul Islam, owner of Jannat Store in Riazuddin Bazar, said, "Blankets of different brands are being sold at Tk450 to Tk5,000. Besides, old blankets are available for Tk200 to Tk1,000. Every day traders in the market are doing business to the tune of at least Tk1 lakh."
Saleh Solaiman, president of Bangladesh Shop Owners Association, said, "There are 15 elite and 58 general shopping centers in Chattogram city. Around 20,000 shops of these markets sell warm clothes."
Mahbubul Alam, president of Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told The Business Standard, "Warm clothes from different wholesale and retail markets of Chattogram city go to different places of the division. As a result, it is possible that the total business is worth more than Tk1,000 crore."