Although Eid-ul-Fitr is right around the corner, the usual festive mood of shopping is missing this time due to the Covid-19 crisis.
This year, Eid shopping seems to be concentrated on purchases for others as very few people could be seen buying anything for themselves, observed Shafikul Islam, assistant manager of Easy, a fashion store in Mirpur.
"We all have some people in our lives who expect gifts during Eid – most of our sales seem to be part of those purchases," he said.
Mahmud, a young banker came to the Easy outlet to buy clothes for his nephews and nieces. No adults in his family are buying anything for Eid this year.
"Our family is spending about 70 percent less on Eid shopping this time, compared to last year. This is going to be a kids-only Eid," said his wife Shilpi.
"We, the adults, are saving up for emergencies."
Eid sales have dropped significantly this year because of a nationwide shutdown, thin wallets and limited shopping hours.
Shops and malls have been allowed to reopen since May 10 – the 17th day of Ramadan – for limited hours up to 4pm.
Most of the large shopping malls decided not to reopen for just half the Eid shopping season amid the public health and economic crises.
But brand chains and roadside apparel and footwear shops in the capital are open for business – a decision that many traders regret.
"It was not a smart decision for us to reopen before Eid," said Md Sumon, manager of Diana Fashion at the New Market area of Mirpur road.
"We collected Eid products three to four months ago, and are now stuck with a huge stockpile. As the main markets in the area are closed and public transport is yet to resume, we have faced a 90 percent drop in footfall compared to the previous year.
He said reopening will only provide staff with salaries, adding that the "big malls had made the right decision" by not opening.
Most of the clothing and footwear retail outlets said their sales had more than doubled over a week, but daily sales are still 90-95 percent lower than that of the last week of Ramadan in 2019.
A Bata Shoe outlet at Kakrail sold products worth over Tk40,000 on Monday – four times higher than that on May 10. But it is only one-fourth the sales they made on the 25th day of Ramadan last year.
Bangladesh Shop Owners' Association President Helal Uddin said this a year of losses for businesses who usually count on Eid sales. Majority of the businesses are still closed and are waiting for the pandemic to end.
Meanwhile, some residential area outlets of apparel chains found more customers than their commercial area peers. But none of them were able to surpass even 30 percent of their daily sales from the previous year.
Abul Hossain, proprietor of fashion store Grameen Shamver at Mirpur-10, said, "After the 20th day of Ramadan, we would usually sell products worth at least Tk5 lakh per day. Today it is yet to cross Tk25,000."
Shumon Fashion, a nearby footwear shop, sells both local and foreign items.
"The number of customers did not increase significantly from last week. We used to sell products worth Tk80,000 per day on the last week of Ramadan, but this year we could not sell shoes worth more than Tk10,000," said Ershad Hossain, proprietor of the shop.
Youths, mainly students, are not coming out for shopping this time. A large number of them are not even in the city right now. That has caused a significant drop in Eid sales, observed both Abul and Ershad.
Brands with online presence are getting better response, they added.