KOCHI: After a long dull season, festive cheer has gripped the markets. With people on a shopping spree, merchants and vendors in Kochi are hoping to make up for last year’s loss caused due to floods.
On Monday, the Atham day, the streets in many commercial areas in the district witnessed a huge rush.
According to vendors, the Onam sale has finally picked up. “The business in textile shops has started on an average note. However, it is far better when compared to the last year. The real Onam rush, however, is yet to happen and we are waiting,” says Jayanandhan, proprietor, Bhadra Textiles, a retail and wholesale shop.
Many shopkeepers are selling clothes at a discount, hoping to lure more people. “Kerala sarees and set mundu are the best-selling items now. As most of the schools and colleges have Onam celebrations this week, there is a demand for shirts/clothes of the same pattern,” he adds. Roadside vendors are also seeing a spurt in sales. “The 10 days leading to Onam can the most profitable period. We had apprehensions when it rained heavily last month. Luckily, Kochi wasn’t affected like last time,” says Shameer, a roadside vendor.
For roadside vendors like him, the yearly sale is dependent on Onam. “If Onam sale goes down, then the entire year will be dismal. Things were fine till 2017. Now, we have pinned our hopes on Onam. Things are getting better this year. The three days before Uthradam are very crucial,” adds Shameer.
For roadside vendors, it is bedsheets and jeans that sell most. “Our daily profit comes around Rs 700-800. It will surely increase in the coming days. The increasing rush is a good sign for us,” says Shameer. However, the roadside vendors are hit by the unexpected rain which has forced them to close their business abruptly. “Onam is our last hope.
The sales throughout the year were bad and it is about to pick up. The unanticipated rain is a big concern,” says Thankamma, a roadside vendor. Some textile shop owners allege the implementation of GST has hit the business. “Since the roadside vendors have no GST, Onam sale will be great for them,” says a textile shop owner.
The Mather Bazar, which has many wholesale shops, continues to have a hard time in spite of the festive season. “There is a slowdown in the economy and this has affected the people. Two years ago, Mather Bazar used to be fully crowded at the start of Onam season,” says Shibi, a wholesale dealer.