Price hikes and packed shopping centres ahead of Eid

(14 Jul 2015) LEAD IN:
Shops and beauty parlours are packed in Karachi ahead of Eid.
Tailors are putting in 24 hour shifts to meet the demand for new clothes but many shoppers are feeling the pinch because of this year’s price rises.
This is Tariq Road, one of Karachi’s most popular shopping centres.
It’s usually full, but at this time of the year, just before Eid, it’s packed with eager bargain hunters and entire families on the look out for something new to wear.
The high demand for shoes, clothes and accessories means that prices also increase.
“My whole family’s Eid shopping was done for Rs7,000 (USD 70) last year. This time, the shopping was for Rs14,000 to Rs16,000. (USD 150). Everything is twice, even thrice as expensive. There is a lot of difference in prices from last year,” says Abdul Shahid, who is selling food from his make-shift stall.
The pre-Eid rush means long hours for 45 year old Muhammad Shahid , who’s been working as a tailor for 30 years.
The on-going power outages which cause the sewing machines to grind to a halt are a constant problem.
“There is a lot of work-related pressure during these times. Everyone wants to get Shalwar Kameez as everyone has to offer Eid prayers. Electricity is a problem as our machines can’t work without electricity. Work pressure increases whenever there are power outages. Due to that, we have to sometimes work for 24-hours even. This is the case in the days leading up to the Eid celebration,” he says.
The religious holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan, is a time to spend money, whether you’re well off or not. That’s according to Tehmina Khalid, the founder and Director of the PR company, Take II.
“Rich people buy more clothes, they buy expensive clothes, they buy accessories. But poor people or people from lower income bracket, they also celebrated Eid. They especially celebrate Eid because they don’t buy new clothes throughout the year. There are only two occasions in a year. One is Eid-ul-Fitr and another is Eid-ul-Adha, where they make sure they buy new clothes, they buy new shoes, jewellery, home accessories,” .
This upscale shopping mall is also thriving ahead of Eid.
The increase in footfall is seen as a good time for established, as well as up and coming designers and brands, to unveil their new collections.
Samra Muslim is from the marketing company, Walnut Communications, which helps promote brands in Pakistan to grow: “This is a market that is not going to be very conscious about quality, about price, about anything. They want something. So this is a very demand-driven market at this point. To do a launch at this point just makes perfect sense.”
At one of the city’s oldest shopping centres, Meena Bazaar, Eid preparations are in full flow.
It’s exclusively for women, and they’re here for a makeover.
“As you know, Eid is just round the corner. Women were first busy with shopping, for clothes, bangles, etc., now they are spending on themselves. Obviously, they also want henna applied to their hands, get facial, get eyebrows threaded, hair cutting, etc,” says Farzana Bano, who runs a beauty parlour.
Popular are these intricate henna designs – and of course there’s always room for a few more bracelets.

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