- Consumers buy fewer items outside daily essentials
- Demand for credit facility increasing
- Customers often paying in instalments
- Some grocers have completely stopped selling on credit
- Companies refusing to supply grocers with products on credit
The constantly rising commodity prices have put grocers and buyers in a tug of war as the latter are increasingly demanding credit facilities from retailers struggling to recover the old debts.
The price hike of all kinds of food and daily essentials are changing the habit of the retail buyers; some are reducing purchase of products outside daily essentials while many are trying to buy on credit.
In the face of this habitual change of the consumers, many shopkeepers are trying to reduce sales on credit, but regular customers are an obstacle to that. Failing to recover the money of on-credit sales, some of them have completely stopped selling on credit.
According to retailers from Karwan Bazar, Rampura, Badda, New Market and Moghbazar areas in the capital, consumers are now buying products after a lot of calculation, buying a small soap instead of a big one, small packets of washing powder and mini packs of shampoo instead of bottled shampoo. People are now buying the least quantity needed, whatever the product is – rice, oil, sugar, flour, onions or garlic.
Mahtab Hossain, a grocer in Badda, told The Business Standard, "I have 10-15 regular customers who shop at my store while returning home from office every day. In addition to buying daily essentials like oil, rice or pulses, they used to buy items for snacks, such as ice cream, cold drinks, chocolates or biscuits. Lately, I have noticed that a number of them are buying nothing but what they need. They even calculate before buying essential products such as oil, onions and garlic."
Some among the regular customers, who buy on credit, are taking a lot of time to pay, and many of them are paying in instalments, he added.
Md Ayatollah, a grocer in Ambagan area of Moghbazar, told TBS, "Sales have been declining due to the price hike. The customer who used to buy five litres of oil is now buying one litre. Those who bought products on credit are delaying making payments, forcing me to say no to them when they request further on-credit purchases."
Md Abdul Awal, proprietor of Allahr Dan Rice Agency at Karwan Bazar, said, "Rice prices used to decline during the Boro season, but this year, it has been increasing, forcing some buyers to reduce their purchasing quantity. There are some buyers who bought on credit during the pandemic. I am facing trouble in recovering the money. That is why I have stopped selling on credit."
Sales by Md Jahangir Alam, who sells chicken at New Market kitchen market, have decreased significantly. "The buyer who used to buy five chickens at a time is now buying one chicken. Many buyers who bought on credit are not coming to the market at all," he told TBS.
The grocers say they are turning away some new buyers who want to buy on credit, afraid that they might face problems in recovering the money. They are also trying to reduce the volume of on-credit sales, because the companies that supplied products on credit earlier are now refusing to give products without cash.
Mahbub Alam, who works at a private firm, came to shop at Preeti General Store at Moghbazar. He said, "I bought products worth Tk1,500 on credit from this store three months ago. I still owe money to the grocer. The price of everything has increased so much that I am not able to save some money to repay the debt."