Dim business shocks electricians

By Jamil Khan

THE credit crunch seems to have dealt a blow to electricians and used-electronic item dealers in Sharjah’s biggest market. Many consumers are not coming forward to repair or purchase used items, especially during the last three months. electricians

The downturn has badly affected regular customers of second-hand electronic items, ranging from electric chopper to refrigerators and vacuum cleaner to window air-conditioners.

Almost all shopkeepers who have been in the business since the last two decades in Sharjah Industrial Area fear that this year will be a hard time for them as increasing rent and cost of living have become “unbearable.”

The shopkeepers have been importing used electronic items including air-conditioners, refrigerators, water dispensers and a range of household electronic gadgets from Hong Kong in bulk.

Since five months back, most of these electronic items, besides bicycles, televisions, irons, twisters, microwave ovens and other products had been exported to Iraq, Iran and a number of African countries through agents.

“It seems that the business activities around the world have been hit as brokers who usually visited this market on a daily basis have now vanished and the warehouses have been full of electronic items,” said Faisal, a shopkeeper.

He said that they have also reduced the number of shipments of used-electronic items as business at this end “is not good” and they face problems to cover their expenditure.

Another shopkeeper, Raja, showed his warehouse packed with a variety of refrigerators and air-conditioners. “We have also reduced the prices, but it seems that people have sealed their pockets.”

“A normal size used good condition refrigerator is being offered at just Dhs500 and one-and-half tonne window AC price starts off from Dhs400, but it seems that people consider these prices exorbitant,” he mentioned.

The industrial area of Sharjah, which houses a large number of shops where service of repairing and overhauling of air-conditioners is provided, also faces cut in business in the next coming months.

Emran, one such electrician, told The Gulf Today on Wednesday that while some electricians in the area had increased charges from Dhs40 to Dhs70, he had not increased but hardly a couple of customers approached in the last over one month.

“Usually people prefer to overhaul their window air-conditioner in winter season to get better results in the summer but this winter had passed quietly with very few people approaching us so far,” he said.

One shopkeeper, who has been in the business for the last 14 years, said since last winter we were very busy and hardly took time for lunch, “but now we are idle as nothing is going on.”

“It is pertinent to mention that most of the new buildings have installed central air-conditioning system and avoiding split or window air-conditioners, but still Sharjah has thousands of such ACs,” he said.

The shopkeepers feared they have to send some of their staff back home as a cost-cutting measure as most of the owners of warehouses/shops continually increase rent without considering the current business situation.

-Published in The Gulf Today-Sharjah | Mar 05, 2009

~ by jamilkhan on March 5, 2009.

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