The crowds have grown since the government imposed a ‘smart lockdown’ maintaining the safety parameters and easing the production and supply of goods. Large crowds are seen everywhere in the capital city as the Badadashain festival begins next week. The roads and streets in Kathmandu are crammed with heavy traffic and streets with vendors and customers. The crowds in the street are a good sign that the trades and business transactions have paced up. However, many local traders were found not satisfied. NepalNews talked to some of the local traders and shopkeepers to learn about the present condition of businesses ahead of Badadashain festival.
Dashain festival will begin next week, so lots of people are out for shopping on the occasion, however, some mobile phone store owners in New Road have said that there is not that much progress in the sales of mobile phone devices that have been put for sale.
“As we expected huge sales of recently launched Redmi 10 prime, the number of devices being sold is high, but through online shopping,” said Kanchan Shrestha, manager at Barun Enterprises, MI showroom Pako Road, New Road. She said that around 200 people come to enquire about the Redmi devices on daily basis but very few of them buy. Most of them purchase phones via online portals including daraz.com.np.
“Large crowds are seen on the road every day since the government eased the restriction, but we have comparatively fewer customers this year,” said Milan Pulami Magar, manager at Big Smartphone World, a store in the Tamrakar complex. “We receive around 150 customers on daily basis now, that also, perhaps the Badashain festival is near,” he said and added, “The business is affected mostly by the online sales of gadgets and electronic devices.”
Currently, the Big Smartphone World has been offering its customers a discount of four to seven per cent on the purchase of smartphones. Magar informed that MI brand phones, Samsung, One Plus and realme brands have topped the lists of phones on sale.
Likewise, Infinity Mobile Store in New Road which also runs an online store has witnessed a downturn in sales of smartphones. The manager at the store, Bishesh Shrestha, expressed his view that the shop makes 55 per cent of transactions online and other contacts while 45 per cent of transactions are made through customers’ direct visits to the shop.
“Although both online and direct sales offer discounts and festive offers, it is still better to buy after visiting the shop as customers get to learn more about the product, feel it and bargain,” Shrestha said. He said that some of the mobile phone brands like VIVO has offered an instant lucky draw on the occasion of the Dashain festival.
While the hustle and bustle of New Road and other trading hubs have increased of late, some shoe and slipper traders have complained about the scarcity of new products.
Krishna Gautam, manager at Jasco Readymade Shop, Ranjana Galli, said, “The business has slowly paced up. But the new products we have ordered from China have not arrived in the market yet.“
The government and the authorities should work together to find a way to facilitate the transportation of goods, he opined. He said that this year the shop is compelled to sell the shoes at a bit higher prices owing to the higher cost the company had to pay for the air cargo.
“The shoes that we sold at Rs 2,500 last year are being sold at around Rs 3,500. This is because the price for air cargo while importing goods, were higher,” Gautam said.
A wholesale trader of blanket and quilt, Hemant Murarka, owner of Sanvi Impex at Ranjana Complex said that the business has paced up of late. He expressed his hope that the shop would do business good enough in the next four to five months. He also complained that the goods imported from China had yet to arrive in Kathmandu.
Since the district administration offices in Kathmandu valley have given permission to run schools in the physical presence of teachers and students, it has helped to grow some businesses. Rakesh Shreevastava, an owner of Rakesh Bag shop, said that the authorities' step to ease lockdown has helped in the regrowth of business. "Now the students have started buying bags, and that has helped in the regrowth of business. It's not because of Dashain," Shrivastava said. He opined that there were still many people hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and suffering from unemployment and other issues. He expressed his hope that the business will be better in the upcoming days.