Shopping Spree

Smalltime retailers fare well despite slowdown



THE current global slowdown seems to be hitting hard, especially the blue-collar workers and those engaged in the shopping centre business.

With several expatriates expressing worry over the financial meltdown, the exceptions are smalltime retailers and vendors dealing in gift items and other such shopkeepers who say their business is “satisfactory.”

“In the last couple of weeks, decline in sale of all edible items was witnessed drastically but there were still some varieties showing an increase in shopping. I hope the ratio could be maintained to balance the business,” said a salesman at a leading chain of supermarkets, who declined to reveal his identity.

He added that the sale of a selected range of gift items has drastically increased. The items included toys, electronic gadgets like MP3, MP4, playstations and digital cameras, artificial jewellery, imported varieties of chocolates and many such articles.

The salesman attributed the reason to fear of job losses that has “compelled many expatriates to send their families back home.”

Rita, a housewife from India, was one of them who was seen selecting toys for her four nieces and nephews and said that it was time to leave after spending a long period away from the relatives.

Her husband, Prakash, is an engineer in a construction firm which had stopped or reduced the pace of work on all ongoing projects and has asked him to proceed on a long leave.

“It was ridiculous that the firm had asked my husband to take rest and all such staff will be summoned back when they resumed work in full strength,” she said.

Munir Ahmed, who had brought his children to one of the shopping centres located on Jamal Abdul Nasir Road, was of the view that it has became his routine to pick up the choices of his children as gift items for his nieces and nephews. “You know, the children have good understanding to choose for their cousins and I am happy with this,” he said.

He also planned to move back to Pakistan after 15-year service in different firms. “The prevailing exorbitant rents have left me unable to maintain a good lifestyle in either Dubai or Sharjah,” he stated.

Besides the ongoing Dubai Shopping Festival, many people who had been planning to go their hometowns are now visiting different supermarkets and other places.

“The idea behind visiting various shopping centres is a swift selection of gift items, besides saving money,” said Zaib-ur-Rehman, another shopper.

However, salesmen at different hypermarkets had confirmed the decline in the sale of edible items, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, as compared to gift items having a huge variety and price difference.

-Published in The Gulf Today-Sharjah | Feb 01, 2009

~ by jamilkhan on February 2, 2009.

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