Despite the passing of three weeks of the month of Ramadan, Eid shopping on the sidewalks and shops on the road in the capital is yet to get momentum.
Shopkeepers say that due to the rising commodity prices and the impact of the corona pandemic, people have less money at hand. That is why the presence of customers at the pavement shops is still less.
On Friday, owners of pavement shops at the capital's Farmgate, Karwan Bazar and Newmarket areas said hopefully the sales will increase in the last days of Ramadan.
Abdul Malek has been selling clothes on the sidewalk in the New Market area for the last 18 years. He is disappointed that even after the 20th Ramadan, the sales are not satisfactory.
He told The Business Standard, "Before the pandemic, we used to sell products worth Tk50,000 every day from 15 Ramadan. But now it is not even one-fourth of that amount."
He said, "People's income has decreased. The person who used to buy 5-6 clothes for his family is now buying 2-3 clothes. But I hope sales will increase in the future."
Different designs of colourful clothes for men and women of all ages are available on the pavements. Various designs of clothes are piled up in the rows of shops.
The shirts are sold for T200-260 while children's frocks, T-shirts, and various colours of clothes are available at Tk150 to Tk300.
People from many lower and middle-income families find their favourite clothes on the sidewalks.
Anisur Rahman bought shoes for his son from the sidewalk in New Market area for Tk400 and a three-piece for his daughter for Tk600. He told TBS that this year he is not buying any clothes for himself and his wife.
"I work for a salary of Tk15,000. The income is not increasing on par with the rising prices of daily necessities," he said.
Mohammad Anis has been selling clothes on the sidewalk next to Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation Bhaban in Karwan Bazar for 15 years. He told TBS, "Even in the last Ramadan, products worth Tk5,000 was sold every day at this time, but now it is not even half of that. Hopefully, people will shop before going home to the village, then sales will increase."
A torrential rain affected the sales of sidewalk shops on Friday afternoon. In the New Market area, vendors covered the products of the sidewalk shops with polythene to protect from the rain.
Mohammed Tipu sells shoes on the sidewalk in the New Market area. He said, "Already the sale is low, and now, adding insult to injury, the nor'wester has forced us to close the shop. If such downpours continue in the coming days, we will face huge losses."
After the rain stopped around 5pm, buyers crowded the pavements of New Market, pushing and shoving one another to get the desired product.
Around 2pm on Friday, sellers were shouting the price of the product on the sidewalks of Farmgate and buyers were buying the product of their choice.
Trader Aminul Islam said, "The sales is not bad and it will increase in the last few days of Ramadan."
Sayema Haque Bidisha, a professor of economics at the Dhaka University, told TBS, "Currently, the commodity prices in the country's market are unusually high, which is affecting the Eid shopping as well. People are curbing their spending on Eid shopping to ensure that they can afford the daily necessities."
A joint study by the private research institute Power and Participation Research Centre and the Brac Institute of Governance and Development in 2021 revealed that 43% of the population has fallen below the poverty line during the pandemic. Currently, the number of poor people in the country is more than seven crore.