Print Edition - 2014-09-23 | MONEY
Traders fear missing festive sales boom
Sep 22, 2014-
With the Araniko Highway still cut off more than a month after a landslide buried a 1.5-km section and Nepal-bound shipments stranded on the Chinese side of the border, traders are worried that they will miss the much anticipated sales boom during Dashain.
Business has been badly affected as they have not been able to bring goods in time for the festive shopping, said traders. Anxious importers have opened an alternative route bypassing the section blocked by the landslide and flood, but smooth transportation has not taken place yet.
Of the total Chinese imports that pass through this border point, 30-40 percent are targeted at Dashain shoppers. In particular, readymade garments and footwear products are shipped through Tatopani Customs in large quantities before the biggest festival of the country.
“Only around 25 percent of the orders have arrived as of last week,” said Nirpesh Shrestha, manager of UFO Clothing Store at Kathmandu Mall. Shrestha expects sales to drop sharply this Dashain. “Since almost all the clothing items have become dearer by 10-15 percent and many customers are walking away without buying after hearing the prices, the outlook for the apparel business during this festival season is gloomy,” he said, adding that small quantities of clothes had arrived with increased price tags discouraging potential customers.
Some traders have been bringing their imports over alternative routes and some have hired porters to carry them over the landslide-affected section which has added to the cost.
Although items in stock are being offered with discounts of up to 50 percent in most markets, traders are not offering heavy reductions on new arrivals. UFO, which used to provide 7-10 percent discount during the festive season, now offers only a 5 percent discount on its newly arrived clothing items.
“We are compelled to sell only stock items during this festive season,” said another trader Bikash Bhurtel, proprietor of Destiny Fashion at Civil Mall, Sundhara. The store has been offering 30-40 percent discount on all its garments for ladies, kids and gents. Bhurtel added the overall consumer buying sentiment was low this year. “We have been launching various promotional campaigns since last week, but customers are not opening their purse strings.”
With Araniko Highway still not fully functional, traders said that it would be hard to bring all their goods to the Kathmandu valley in time for the festival. “We are not confident about sales as the government has been slow in its attempts to reopen the highway,” said Saroj Bhattarai, proprietor of 3S Men’s Wear at People’s Plaza, Khicha Pokhari.
Published: 23-09-2014 09:47