With just a day for Pongal, business in the city has heated up finally as crowds started to stream into the city’s major shopping destinations for a bout of frenzied shopping.
Always one of the busiest times for retailers in the city, especially with large discounts and special offers, fighting for traction among shoppers, the festival season has, however, been largely disappointing to most businesses with what was possibly the slowest New Year’s Day sales witnessed in a decade.
But the first day of the long Pongal holidays this year has finally brought a smile to the faces of retailers. “I was pinning my hopes on a good Pongal crowd. There was none on New Year and the whole month of December was very slow,” said Sheikh, the owner of a small apparel establishment in T Nagar.
And Pongal doesn’t seem to have let him, or his fellow traders, down.
“Saturday was very good. We saw large crowds in the evening and a large number of customers,” he said. He also went on to say that if Sunday’s revenues beat Saturday’s, he could even eliminate New Year’s day losses.
Larger establishments also witnessed a good number of shoppers, with sources inside Saravana Stores saying that this Pongal was bucking the larger trend as far as the number of shoppers were concerned. “Though revenues may not be as great as the number of people suggest, people are opting to spend lesser this year,” said the same source. Whether revenues match up with numbers or don’t, the general mood in the city’s apparel and accessories sector seems to be upbeat after the doldrums it has been witnessing in recent times.
As R Ravicharan, a wholesale garment seller said, “With a large enough crowd, the salespersons can bring in enough sales. It was the absence of crowds that had us worried.” And he doesn’t seem to be worried any longer as the larger part of Chennai seems to have finally decided to open it’s purse strings.