default-image

City dwellers are preparing to celebrate the first day of spring (Pahela Falgun) and Valentine's Day.

Local brands and boutiques have come up with clothes in colourful designs to brighten up these two festivals. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, sales haven't been bad for outfits in bright reds, yellows, oranges and greens.

This year sales are slightly lower than the past Pahela Falgun and Valentine's Day festivals.

Although the scale of sales is small, traders see hope amid the outbreak, since their businesses were almost shut for several months.

Advertisement

Businessmen said clothing sales had boomed for the last four to five years on the eve of Pahela Falgun which is why different brands and boutique houses have prepared as much as they can.

However, this year companies are reluctant to come up with new products on their shelves after the losses they faced in the last two big festivals, Eid-ul- Fitr and Eid-ul Azha, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most people prefer ethnic clothing for the spring celebration. That is why the Basundhara City mall outlet of the local clothing house ‘Deshidosh’ is well ahead of others.

On Thursday, new items were on display at the ‘Deshidosh’ outlet. Although the number of buyers at noon was a bit low, the salespersons said the business was not bad. They are expecting good sales on weekend (Friday and Saturday).

Rang Bangladesh is one of main partners of ‘Deshidosh’. When asked, the company's chief executive Soumik Das said, "Business is not bad. But we could predict our sales in the past, which is not possible this year due to the coronavirus pandemic."

Last year, local brands and boutique houses made big profits on the eve of Pahela Baishakh and Valentine's as well as international language day before the lockdown was imposed to curb coronavirus transmission.

“Business is good one day, not so good the next. Even so, sales have been positive outcome,” he added.

Soumik Das said the sales for Pahela Baishakh and Valentine's Day are about one and half times more than normal monthly sales. But the festival mood has been dampened somewhat with schools, colleges and universities closed due to coronavirus.

Crowds have also increased a bit in Aarong, another big brand of local clothing. It was seen during a visit to their new 35,000 sq ft sales outlet center at the Tejgaon-Gulshan Link Road around noon on Thursday that people were buying outfits of their choice.

Many of them were purchasing clothes for Pahela Baishakh while many just came to check out the new sales outlet.

Aarong chief operating officer (COO) Ashraful Alam said the normalcy is returning after the arrival of the Covid vaccines.

Apart from this, he said, there had been no festival for many days, resulting in increased sales for the spring celebration and Valentine's. "But it is still unclear that how much profit we will eventually make," he said.

Last year, local brands and boutique houses made big profits on the eve of Pahela Baishakh and Valentine's as well as international language day before the lockdown was imposed to curb coronavirus transmission.

Advertisement

Then companies faced a cash crunch as sales plummeted for the Bangla New Year (Pahela Baishakh), and two big festivals, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul Azha.

Products piled up on the shelves and so most of the offered discounts. This helped in sales since last September.

Sara Lifestyle, a new fashion brand of Snowtex Group, has earned a name in the clothing industry over the past few years.

The group's managing director SM Khaled said, “Most of the clothes we made for spring and Valentine's Day have already been sold. Hopefully, the next two days (Friday and Saturday) will be good ones.”

There are no exact statistics on how much clothes are sold on these celebrations by local brands and fashion houses.

Shaheen Ahmad, president of the Bangladesh Fashion Entrepreneurs Association (FEAB or Fashion Enterprise) said “About 3 to 4 per cent of yearly total sales are sold during the three festivals in February. We did good business at the same time of the last year. But the situation this year is different. However, sales seem promising compared to the last few months.”

This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by NH Sajjad

Read more from Local