Hawkers with their floating shops on a space between Mouchak and Anarkali markets usually see a huge rush of shoppers ahead of Eid, but two hawkers - Ariful and Sumon – were seen playing games on their smartphones yesterday in the absence of customers with Eid-ul-Adha only four days away.
"Eid is approaching, but shoppers are not coming to the markets. There is almost no sale. How long can we shout in the hope of getting buyers? We are playing games to reduce our frustration," Ariful said.
After reopening their businesses, traders have dangled various discounts and offers to attract customers but nothing seems to be working in their favour.
Many people have gone back to their rural homes after losing their livelihoods under the impacts of coronavirus while many others have run out of money. Of late, flood has appeared as a new crisis. All those contributed to poor sales, traders said.
Moreover, many shoppers cannot come to the markets as they have to close early at 7 pm every day.
They do not expect their businesses to pick up under these circumstances.
Eid shoppers flock to shopping hubs such as Bashundhara City Shopping Mall, Jamuna Future Park and New Market of the capital city. They also crowd roadside shops in large numbers. However, the number of shoppers in the city's shopping malls before Eid is now less than usual.
Shoppers have to enter through disinfectant-spraying booths set up at the entrance of most shopping centres in the capital. Their body temperature is also measured before allowing them to enter the markets.
During a visit to Bashundhara shopping mall, it was seen that the buyers were still not coming in a good number. Besides, there was no throng of buyers at Molla Tower Shopping Complex in Rampura and Mouchak Market in Malibag. Most shops witnessed a feeble response from shoppers.
Sellers said they missed out on two big festivals such as Pahela Baishakh and Eid-ul-Fitr. They hoped that they would overcome the losses ahead of Eid-ul-Adha. The Eid is knocking at the door but their sales are not crossing 60 percent compared to those in the pre-coronavirus period.
Mohammad Helal Uddin, president of the Bangladesh Shop Owners Association and former vice-president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries, said, "We have to close shops at 7 pm when shoppers mostly start coming to the markets. We cannot do businesses in this way."
They have applied to the public administration ministry to extend their selling time, but no decision has been taken yet in this regard, he added.
Almost all brands such as Bata, Apex, Lotto, Gentle Park, Yellow, Cats Eye, Menz Club are giving markdowns up to 70 percent, but the response from buyers is still poor.
Nahiduzzaman, a branch manager of Darjibari, a well-known brand for punjabis, said the shop rent, service charges and staff salaries amount to around Tk10 lakh a month.
He thinks that it will not be possible to meet expenses even during this Eid month if the sales do not increase.
Mamun Sheikh, a branch manager of Apex, told The Business Standard that their sales still remain at 60 percent of the pre-Covid-19 time.