With Eid-ul-Fitr approaching, shopping malls in Chittagong city remain abuzz with customers, even hours past midnight amid increased retail activity.
Biponi Bitan, a popular shopping place, is the oldest and largest mall of the port city, and is bustling with shoppers.
The sari shop of A Wadud Brothers at Biponi Bitan has registered sales of Tk 3 lakh a day since the 12th Ramadan, said its owner Md Sagir, also president of Biponi Bitan Merchants' Welfare Association.
“We used to import saris from India once, but now locally manufactured saris, fine in quality, are being exported to India,” he said. “Demand for Jamdani, Katan and Tangail saris has been rising steadily.”
The mall expects to rake in over Tk 100 crore this Eid season, Sagir said.
“The quality of local products is getting better and their prices are reasonable,” Fouzia Sultana, a resident of Chittagong, said while shopping at Central Plaza.
“Sales have peaked after the 15th of Ramadan,” said Shahjahan Siddique Liton, joint convener of Mimi Super Market Traders' Association. The market expects sales of more than Tk 50 crore this season, he said.
The shops in the market are offering quality products, especially saris, at reasonable prices, he said.
Traders are beginning to think that actual sales might exceed their initial expectations, even as customers allege that product prices are rather high this year.
“High prices this year have forced me to cut back on my planned expenditure,” said Md Aziz Uddin, while shopping with his wife at Sanmar Ocean City.
“I haven't bought anything for myself yet as my budget was exceeded in buying dresses for my family members,” he said. Traders, however, claim that prices are reasonable compared to last year.
“If you want good products, the prices will be a bit higher,” said Kamrul Hasan Himel, manager of Plus Point outlet at Sanmar Ocean City. Jeans trousers were selling for Tk 2,500 to Tk 3,500 a pair while panjabis and shirts were priced at Tk 1,300-2,000 at the shop.
Sellers cannot make huge profits during the Eid season due to stiff competition, said Md Shahed, owner of Aerosoft Shoe at Sanmar Ocean City.
“Shopping malls are mushrooming in every upazila headquarter, making business tough for us,” he said.
Other markets -- Yunusco City Centre, Chittagong Shopping Complex, VIP Tower Shopping Mall, Singapore Bangkok Market, Bay Shopping Centre, Gulzar Tower and Adhunik Chawk Super Market -- are also flush with shoppers.