BHOPAL: The traditional pre-Diwali spurt in sales is missing from the city markets, say sellers of automobiles, jewellery, clothes and electronic gadgets. And they are not hopeful of any upturn in their sales in the run-up to the festival of lights.
They blame the economic slowdown, demonetisation and ‘faulty implementation’ of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime for the sharp slump in demand.
Ashish Pandey, President of Bhopal Automobile Dealers’ Welfare Association told Free Press that this Navratri, the automobiles sales were down by 20 to 25 % as compared with the last one. “There is no improvement in sight. At best, we can hope that the deficit will reduce by 8 to 12 per cent till Diwali,” he said.
He blames the slowdown in the automobile sector on a series of factors, including rise in the price of petrol and diesel, costlier vehicles and increae in insurance charges. “People are postponing their purchase decisions,” he said. Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s statements about vehicle emission standards and electric vehicles have only served to further confuse the buyers, Pandey said.
“Not good, not bad,” said Navratan, senior manager, Anopchand Tilokchand Jewellers, New Market when asked about the festive sales. “The purchasing power of the people has gone down and they are avoiding using cash to buy jewellery,” he said. He said that sales were definitely lower than their expectations. “May be, the situation will improve as Diwali draws closer,” he said.
Harish Mantri, marketing head of Shree Shivam – a mega apparels store – was also not happy with the state of affairs. “The economy is down. The input costs are up,” he said. According to him, the outlet’s sales had dropped by a hefty 30 to 40 per cent as compared with last year. “The sales of wedding collections remain unaffected but the casual wear segment has been badly hit,” he said. People are not opening their purse strings; they are buying only what is absolutely necessary, he said.
The festive air is missing at Mangalam Electronics, dealers in electronic and electrical gadgets. “There is no boom. There is no growth. We are not having any expectations,” said Animesh, director, Manglam Corporation India Pvt Ltd, New Market. He said that if their sales even touch the last year’s mark, it would be a great achievement them.