After a dismal first half of the year, plagued by political unrest and a spate of shutdowns, leading boutiques in Chittagong now hope to have an Eid bonanza.
In an effort to recoup the losses and bring a bit of smile on the faces of the customers, the boutiques have been making elaborate preparations ahead of the festival.
The owners of the boutiques say although sales are yet to pick up, they are continuing to get their stocks into their outlets and are keeping their workers busy making the outfits appropriate for the occasion.
Mohammed Elias, a 37-year-old entrepreneur and owner of Shoilpik, which has 20 outlets in the country, said that in menswear he has done a combination of western and traditional patterns, mainly on panjabis, t-shirts, polo shirts and fotuas.
The panjabis have been priced at between Tk 1,000 and Tk 8,000 apiece while the others are selling between
Tk 400 and Tk 1,500.
Elias also said he has opted for western designs in ladies garments, such as salwar kameez, kaftans and fotuas, pricing them up to Tk 6,000.
Specialising only in saris, Pinon near Prabartak intersection, has stocked various types of cotton, tashar silk, muslin, jamdani and Tangail boutique saris with a maximum price of Tk 14,000.
Mohassana Qurashy, the owner, said, in the Eid season she has also kept in her shop readymade and unstitched salwar kameez as well as children’s clothing and panjabis for men.
Not very far from Pinon is Meah Bibi, right at the corner of Prabartak intersection having a shop covering an area of 1,600 square feet. Its owner Sultana Nurjahan said she had made the normal preparation for Eid business with big stocks in panjabis, salwar kameez, skirts and long fotuas.
Nurjahan forayed into the boutique business in 1994 as Tajnur Boutiques and later expanded it into Meah Bibi in 2007.
Meah Bibi has stocked muslin, georgette, andy silk and Tangail saris and keeping in mind the current monsoon season, Nurjahan has opted mainly for blue, violet and feroza colours, pricing them up to Tk 12,000.
Ivy Hasan, a designer of repute in print clothing and owner of Doll’s House, said that because of the slump in sales during Pahela Baishakh, she had been preparing for Eid sales well in advance and had some orders from individuals which has helped her to a great extent.
She also said she has tried to stock muslin, silk and tashar saris in her stores and designed them with some jute stripes keeping the tradition alive. Her saris have a maximum price of Tk 15,000. Doll’s House has panjabis for men at a maximum price of Tk 3,000 and salwar kameez with the highest price tag of Tk 7,000.
Kazi Shahtaz Perveen, a partner of Sreya Munmun’s, told The Daily Star that like previous years they have concentrated on salwar kameez, saris and home décor items, and have kept a small stock of children’s panjabis. The salwar kameez they have put up for sale also have long kameez with ‘koli’ design on the arms selling at a price range of Tk 2,000 to Tk 8,000.
Children’s panjabis have been priced between Tk 500 and Tk 1,500, Perveen said.
Monideepa Das, the other partner, said, they have decided to go more into wholesale business in saris and home décor items. They sell muslin, andy cotton and half silk saris with a maximum price of Tk 8,000.
Monideepa also said they had some encouraging responses to their home décor items which come both in block print, screen print and appliqué and designed by themselves.
Their curtains sell at between Tk 3,000 and Tk 6,000 for a set of four while a set of one bed cover, two pillow cases and a cushion cover would fetch between Tk 1,000 and Tk 2,500.
However, the owners of the boutiques said sales at this time of Ramadan last year were much better.
“So far, so good but it could be better,” said Ivy Hasan of Doll’s House.
Sultana Nurjahan of Meah Bibi said, “Cheap imports from India and Pakistan are badly affecting our business.”
“Just a few minutes of rain makes the area water-logged at Prabartak and hits our business,” Mohassana Qurashy of Pinon said.
Kazi Shahtaz Perveen and Monideepa Das expressed satisfaction at going into wholesale business this year in addition to their retail sales.
Mohammed Elias of Shoilpik blamed the slump in sales on continuous shutdowns at the beginning of Ramadan this year.
However, the owners of the boutiques also sounded quite optimistic about a surge in sales in the coming days. They said people would soon get their pay packets together with Eid bonus. Although they would not have many days left to do their shopping, last minute rush to buy the appropriate attires for Eid day would result in a bonanza for the boutiques .
Source: The Daily Star