Input and fuel costs have spiralled in the last one year resulting in higher cost of products

For the next couple of months from now, it is festival season and time for consumers to get busy with shopping.

Though it will be expensive, retailers feel that shopping will not be hit.

Retailers say the season in Coimbatore begins with Vinayaka Chathurthi and covers Onam, Navarathri and Deepavali.

From vegetables to textiles, prices are up because of several reasons. Input and fuel costs have spiralled in the last one year resulting in the higher cost of the products.

Fluctuation in currency value during the last few weeks has led to higher cost of accessory goods (which are imported).

According to Coimbatore Cloth Merchants’ Association, which represents the stand-alone textile outlets in the city, cotton textile products are costlier by 25 per cent compared to last year. In the case of synthetic items, the rates are up by five per cent.

Usually, good rain boosts the rural economy and this reflects in festival purchases. Sale of textile goods in the Aadi season was good this year.

The trend is expected to continue for the next two months, says a representative of the association.

India imports huge quantities of raw silk and in the last one year, the cost of imported raw silk has shot up by 80 per cent. However, the entire hike cannot be passed on to the consumers.

The retailers are offering trendy and light weight silk saris.

It is not just the raw material but the cost of value addition, such as printing, that has gone up. Crepe saris that used to cost Rs. 2,600 each last year is now Rs. 3,800. In the case of pure silk with zari, customers will be selective, says a leading silk retailer.

In the case of vegetables, prices have shot up mainly because of higher fuel costs. Transporting vegetables from other States has increased the rates for almost all the vegetables.

Apart from onions, the price of ginger, cabbage, pumpkin, carrot, beans and drumstick are up.

M. Rajendran, president of the Thyagi Kumaran Market Vegetable Merchants’ Association, says that deficient rainfall last year has increased the prices of vegetables. Good rain this year will give better yield.

But, the new arrivals will start only after a month or so. Till then, prices will remain high. But another main reason for higher rates is the hike in fuel and labour costs.

The higher prices are not likely to affect purchases as consumers usually buy more during festivals, he says.

Good rain this year has raised hopes of better harvest of rice and other grains and pulses.

Hence, those who have stocks of these are bringing it to the market. The wholesale price of rice declined slightly last month. Sugar prices have not changed much.

However, ghee is 60 per cent to 70 per cent higher and oil is nearly 25 per cent higher, says C. R. Baskaran, secretary of Coimbatore Maligai Merchants’ Association.

Though it may not have much impact on cost of savouries, it is likely to have an impact of sweet varieties. Such high ghee prices are unheard of.

It may affect consumption and gifting trends in the festival season, says a major retailer here.

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