Retail shops are witnessing brisk sales in main shopping centres of Tiruchi

New varieties, innovation in not only design but also in utility, and, above all, competitive rates have come to stay as the unique selling point for sale of garments, saris and kids wear for the current “Deepavali” season.

Consumers from different parts of the central region had been making a beeline for Tiruchi for purchasing garments for the “Deepavali” festival. Obviously, there are huge crowds at several prominent shops on the NSB Road, Singarathoppu, West Boulevard Road, Big Bazar Street, and Thillai Nagar, along with other business hubs in the city.

A large number of parents say that the “Dasara” holidays had come in handy for them to purchase cloths for Deepavali. “Shopping involves time, especially in selection of garments. As the shops will be overcrowded by next week, we decided to purchase garments well in advance,” says R. Manavalan, an employee from Neyveli Lignite Corporation, who had come to Tiruchi with his family to purchase textile goods.

It is not major textile giants or well established showrooms that attract customers. Even the Co-Optex showrooms in the city have been witnessing brisk sale, courtesy the low-priced and multi-coloured silk saris. “A silk sari normally is noted for weight. Under the ‘Ellorukkum Pattu’ scheme, low-priced, and low weight silk saris, produced from Madurai and Salem, are marketed in the showrooms. Women prefer silk saris with a price tag of Rs. 2,950 to Rs. 3,300,” says S. Janakiraman, manager of Teppakulam Co-Optex showroom.

On an average, 40 silk saris are sold at the showroom now. “It is likely to step up in course of time,” he says.

The cotton varieties introduced by Co-Optex have gone down well with the consumers. “Competing with the private sector garment industry, we have targeted children as our consumers. Kids’ bed spread is another attraction. With its motley design, the bedspread attracts not only parents but also children,” he says.

Young couple is another targeted group. “The honeymoon bedspread with specific designs attracts the newly-wedded couples.”

A few private garment firms vie with one another in adopting new commercial strategies, the main among them being multi-purpose utility of the same garment.

Most garment dealers focus on children’s wear. For instance, “Kutti Mayil” frock introduced by a private firm in the city has been the centre of attraction for a number of parents.

“Priced at about Rs. 2,295, it can suit girls aged up to 10,” says C. Manikandan, manager of major textile showroom, having a chain of outlets across the State.

The firm has introduced the “2,500 model” shirt, which can be utilised in different styles. “We supply a catalogue on using the shirt. Similarly, a full pant can be conveniently converted into a three-fourths pant or half pant,” he says. Churidars could be conveniently converted for multiple use.

“It can be used with bottom with salwar or choli with tops,” say the marketing personnel.

Leading textile showrooms even attempted to advance Deepavali sale.

A leading showroom on the N.S.B. Road advertised that people could indulge in hassle-free Deepavali purchase, in the company of their children, during the puja holidays. Textile shops claimed that they had displayed all new varieties for Deepavali at least a month in advance. This was in contrast to aadi sale, which gets extended beyond August 15.

Less purchasing power

Although the crowd had been surging at the main business hubs in the city, the rush is not on expected lines.

Purchasing power of the common people has come down to a considerable extent because of various factors, particularly the soaring of prices of essential commodities and petrol; power tariff, and new taxation rules, says Ve. Govindarajulu, State general secretary of Tamil Nadu Traders’ Federation.

It is a fact that a large number of people, including those belonging to economically weaker sections, throng the city from the neighbouring districts of Nagapattinam, Sivaganga, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Tiruvarur, and Thanjavur for festival shopping. The volume of crowd has not registered any increase this year. In fact, it remains steady as compared to last year, indicating not much of an increase in the number of people patronising the trade, says Mr. Govindarajulu.

Another important feature witnessed this festival season is that the value of purchase has gone down because of price increase.

A customer, who managed to purchase textiles for Rs. 10,000 last year, is now complacent with a budget of Rs. 7,000. This was mainly because of the tightening of purse strings by the masses. This trend in no way proves favourable to the trading community, he says.