Low sales for Pak exhibitors

BUSINESS Matters

On Sunday, with just two days left for the most awaited Indian International Trade Fair to get over, lakhs of Delhiites turned up to shop till they dropped, but there was still a corner at the most visited fair where footfalls did not translate into great sales.

Visiting Pakistani retailers did not seem to be having the best time of their lives here.

Even Indian women who are known to be fond of Pakistani fabrics and garments, especially salwar suits – as there is always a wide variety to choose from, stayed away, preferring to window shop only. One of the major reasons this time were the expensively priced dress materials. The starting range was a minimum Rs 2500, quite a tidy sum for a middle-class person.

The Pak pavilion was marked by the presence of no less than 176 exhibitors this time. The stalls were exhibiting colourful and embroide­red dress material in crepes, satins, georgettes and exquisite works in lace.

But there were no takers for it. Women who did stop-over were looking for some great bargains, which were not forthcoming.

Another plausible reason for poor footfalls and lack of purchase could also be that Pakistan had held its first ever premium lifestyle exhibition in Delhi April last, where over 100 exhibitors had showcased products in fashion apparel, home textiles, furniture, leather goods, home accessories, spices and marble handicrafts. With IITF offering so much more, it would appear that buyers gave Pakistan apparels a pass, to pick up other goodies.
First time participant Mohammad Ameen Sattar of Home Textiles, Karachi, blamed the ‘just-concluded’ Pak festival in India for poor sales.

“As you can see, my stall is vacant. The sale has not been good at all. Seventy per cent of people are enquiring about the prices but not buying. So, now we are selling all the dress materials at wholesale prices. We are now focused on clearing our stock.”

Another exhibitor Kaleem Qadir from Sialkot, who has been coming to IITF for the past five years, said that with worldwide economy in a state of recession, it could be one of the reasons resulting in poor purchasing power. “The earnings have gone down. The value of dollar has gone down. Besides, the customers here want only discounts.”
Mohammad Salim, co-owner of Samrah Classics, Karachi complained of hike in the rents of stalls. “This year we paid Rs 3.5 lakh per stall. It has been increased from Rs 2.80 lakh last year. The rent is high and we are facing huge losses due to poor sales.”

But if on one hand, if apparel exhibitors were facing a challenge trying to get rid of their stocks, there was Tourists Khussa House which was selling its jootis and chappals like hot cakes. With pairs priced at a very reasonable Rs 500-700, Qasim Ahmed, a shop attendant was having a tough time handling at least 50 women around him, asking for their shoe sizes! “In our shop,” said the harried man, “the sale is really good as you can see. People are loving the traditional designs and patterns of Pakistani footwear.”

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