Dhaka traders eye winter clothing sale bonanza to blunt pandemic blow

Those selling shirts, pants, T-shirts at the city pavements around the year, have changed their collection to colourful winter garments. Unable to overlook their beckoning, pedestrians stop for a while and skim through the winter clothes.

There is no uptick in sale just yet, said the traders, who had suffered a slump during Pahela Baishakh, Eid, Puja and other festivals this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Md Hanif, who was selling sweaters for adults at the north gate of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque alongside a few other hawkers, said he sold clothes worth Tk 800 on Saturday.

To make a reasonable profit he needed to sell clothes worth Tk 9,000 daily.

“These days I can’t sell enough clothes to match my investment,” he said. Hanif brought the winter clothes two weeks ago.

Rafiqul Islam, a private company executive, had no plan to buy winter clothes now, but he could not help a quick look at Hanif’s collection. “We’ll need these in a few days anyway,” Rafiqul said, after buying two sweaters. 

The wind becomes chilly in rural areas at the end of the Bengali month of Hemanta. For Dhaka, a concrete jungle, it takes time for the cold weather to set in. People still have some time left to start wearing warm clothes.

As their sale during the festive seasons of Eid and Puja suffered a slump driven by the coronavirus pandemic, sellers are expecting to make it up in the winter season.

Shops in Dhaka New Market, Bangabazar, Gulistan, Paltan, Malibagh, Mouchak and other shopping malls have begun to put winter clothes on display.

Pavements are buzzing with traders and hawkers boasting a wide range of colourful sweaters, jackets, gloves and mittens and monkey-caps.

Some of the traders are storing the winter garments now as they plan to bring those for sale when the frost hits the city.

The price of winter garments will go up this year as production dropped this season with the companies facing difficulties in importing fabric, thread and other accessories in time due to the pandemic, the traders said.

Though they are hoping to make a brisk business, the sellers are also worried about the possibilities of an intensified outbreak hitting the number of customers during winter.

Md Faruk brought shoes made of cloth, socks and caps for children at Gulistan last week. His products are priced between Tk 150 and Tk 250.

“There’s no sale now. I hope people will buy once the winter sets in,” he said.

“It felt a little cold last week and many of the sellers brought winter clothes. But now the weather is hot again and there’s almost no business. Once in a while, one or two customers show up. I’ve begun selling warm clothes but not making a good profit,” said Shahadat Hossain, who was selling sweater for children at the west side of the Baitul Mukarram mosque.

Prices have shot up this season, he said. The sweaters he was selling at Tk 300 this year

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