Shah Sports on Bangabandhu Avenue used to sell accessories worth around Tk1.5 lakh daily before the pandemic hit the country. Now that businesses have resumed for almost five months, the store is yet to pick the pace.
Mehedi Hasan, sales and account manager of the shop, said their sales have been a meagre Tk5,000-10,000 per day after reopening.
Most sports stores in the capital are experiencing a similar situation.
Despite keeping shops open, they cannot even earn an amount sufficient to pay the salaries of their employees. There are rent and other expenses too. In such a situation, many traders have been forced to close their businesses, with the result that many employees have lost their jobs.
MR Shamim Patwari, president of Bangladesh Sports Accessories Merchant Manufacturers and Importers Association, told The Business Standard that, like other business sectors of the country, the sports goods business too has suffered due to the pandemic.
"After the general holidays ending on 30 May, the overall situation of the business has slowly been returning to normal, but there is hardly any demand for sports items."
He said students are the main buyers of sports products. But after the holidays, though everything else is open, educational institutions have remained closed.
"One does not know when they will open again. All sports events in the country, including football and cricket, are in a state of suspension. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the businessmen in the field to survive in such a situation."
The market for sports accessories in Bangladesh is around Tk2,000 crore a year and about 50,000 people are directly involved in this business
MR Shamim noted that the market for sports accessories in Bangladesh is around Tk2,000 crore a year and about 50,000 people are directly involved in this business.
The two largest markets for sports accessories in the country are Cooperative Twin Tower Sports Market and Railway Super Market in Gulistan.
There are more than 200 sports stores in the Twin Tower market. More than 10 shops have already been closed and over 500 workers have been laid off. SM Sirajuddaula, president of Cooperative Twin Tower Sports Market Traders Association, has claimed that the financial losses caused by Covid-19 are to the tune of Tk25-30 crore.
He told TBS that people's income has decreased due to the novel coronavirus. They are struggling to meet the demand for daily necessities and buying sports items now is a far cry for them. As such, he said the financial situation of the traders in the market is very fragile.
The Railway Super Market, which is located beside Twin Tower, had 265 sports shops. Of these, 15 have been closed and about 300 employees of different shops have been laid off.
The Railway Super Market Traders Association has claimed that businesses that are part of the association have also suffered financial losses in the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, products worth Tk40,000-50,000 were sold daily at this time. Now it has come down to Tk8,000-10,000. We somehow survive because we have many showrooms. Otherwise, we would have had to close our business earlier
An almost similar picture was noted in sports accessories shops at Maulana Bhashani Stadium Market, Gulistan Shopping Complex Market, Elephant Road, Dhanmondi and Banani. Some shops have been closed. The shops which are open hardly see any buyers. According to shop owners, their sales have come down to a meagre 5-6% in comparison to that of the pre-Covid period.
Bashundhara Shopping Mall in Panthapath had 15-20 sports accessories shops. Two of the shops have been shut down. Sales of sports goods in Bashundhara are, however, a little better than in other places.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah, assistant manager of Galaxy Sports in the mall, said, "Before the pandemic, products worth Tk40,000-50,000 were sold daily at this time. Now it has come down to Tk8,000-10,000. We somehow survive because we have many showrooms. Otherwise, we would have had to close our business earlier."