VISAKHAPATNAM: The cost of any product in the black market is usually high, but not in these times. Cost of products, including foodgrains, in black is in fact less now as the house marts trend has set in. Though the products sold at these marts are not branded, a huge business transaction is taking place.
Apparel, pulses, rice, footwear, beauty items, stationery, crockery, gift articles, automobile spare parts, electronic and electrical appliances, among others, procured directly from production centres and farmers are now giving the consumer something to smile about.
This type of business is now in full swing in urban areas.
As institutional charges, taxes, power bills and wages of salesmen do not add to the price of the product, mart traders offer goods at a cheaper price than the open market.
The middle and lower-middle classes are thronging these marts. The Kolkata and Mumbai wholesale markets are the prime source for these mart traders.
Observing this new trend in business, small traders are closing shop at busy junctions and opening house marts.
As these ventures are much more lucrative, housewives in good numbers are entering the business and bringing in money to the family kitty. In Marripalem area, a house mart selling readymade clothing, footwear and beauty parlour material is run by a couple.
Narayana Rao, who operates a rice and pulses mart at Akkayyapalem sells goods at less than market price.
“It is not an illegal business. I am procuring directly from wholesalers and farmers, bringing it here and selling at a lesser margin. I have nearly 40 monthly clients in my area. I am not doing business. I am just serving them,” says Narayana Rao, justifying his business.
The trend is not limited to a few products, but covers a wide range. Bhavani, a housewife, runs almost a shopping mall at her home- -soaps, clothing, make-up material, note books, pens, pencils, pulses and gift articles, to mention a few.
When asked, a customer at Bhavani’s house, P Shyamala, resident of Prahladapuram, says she is happy that she is getting a cheaper price. Saripally Appalakonda, who runs a similar house mart, requested this reporter that his address not be given to commercial tax inspectors.
“This business also has many hazards and we have to bribe officials,” he says.