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Retailers see 35-40% decline in festival business, all hopes now on Dhanteras

Traders say ban on sale of fire crackers and online companies selling products at predatory pricing are behind the lull in Diwali sales

Contrary to the expectations of traders, there has been a lack of enthusiasm among shoppers this festival season, because of which Diwali sales has failed to pick up in the markets and business has fallen by as much as 35-40%.

The ban on the sale of fire crackers by the Supreme Court and the blitzkrieg by online e-commerce giants have dealt a double whammy to the markets, resulting in a gloomy atmosphere in the markets.

Traders are now hoping that shoppers will throng the markets on Dhanteras today, and remaining days of festival to sail them through.

Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said, “In comparison to last year, so far there is a decline of festival business by 35 to 40%, which is primarily because of repeated sales by online companies and selling products at predatory pricing. On the other hand, the consumer is very choosy and exercising caution in the purchases and buying only essential items.”

Khandelwal said online sale has most adversely affected primarily offline business mobiles, electronics, electrical items, gift items, footwear, readymade garments, kitchen appliances and articles, FMCG products, watches, etc.

The ban on the sale of fire crackers has also hit traders hard. Normally, people on the insistence of children shop for fire crackers and end up buying a few other items too but this time it is not the case.

He said generally festivals that fall in the first fortnight of a month always see good sales as salaries are disbursed in the first week and people have cash to spend. This factor generated hope among the trading community that business would be good from Dhanteras to Diwali.

In the last two years, the CAIT had been avoiding Chinese material. This year too there has been a decline of about 50% in the purchase of Chinese products by importers.

Khandelwal said today being Dhanteras, traders hope of doing good business, particularly in utensils, kitchen equipment, gold and silver jewellery, gift items, etc. They also hope that the remaining days of the festivities will bring good business opportunities for them.

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