Special Correspondent

Sales yet to pick up at smaller shops

Festivities planned for the night shopping event include special cultural shows to engage the crowd.

KOCHI: Night shopping in Kochi was formally inaugurated on Sunday evening by District Collector M. Beena at a function organised by the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Collector handed over a torch to Olympian K. M. Binu and a torch run was taken out from Menaka Junction to Maharaja’s College grounds where the National Open Athletics Championship would begin on Monday morning. Roller skating and other cultural programmes were also organised as part of the ceremony

However, untimely rain ruined the mood of shoppers who generally go around in search of commodities, just before Onam festival. The last Sunday before Onam marks a surge of sales for the shops where bargains are struck almost every moment. But the expectations were drowned in the torrential rain. Of course, the shopkeepers had to bear the brunt.

Nevertheless, it was not a dismal day for the elegant textile shops, decorated to attract festival crowds. The crowd was visible at most of such branded shops, but stream of shoppers narrowed down at smaller outlets. The adverse climate dealt a heavy blow to their business. In fact, these shops offer instant bargains for the customer with a smaller purse and the business zooms from these minor deals.

The wayside vendors were the worst affected lot. Merchandise brought from neighbouring States makes hot sales at the street corners during festival seasons and Onam is the foremost occasion for the vendors to make a fast buck. The rain on a holiday had ruined their hopes, though there was some consolation in the evening when the sky brightened up after long hours of rainy spell.

But hope lingers on. The next day could be better. If the sun shines during the remaining days of run-up to the festival, it could make up for the lost opportunity.

The beginning of the night shopping event in the evening did unfold a spectrum of avenues for the leisurely shopper. The shops that usually close down by 8 p.m., would remain open till 10.30 p.m. If everything goes well, the shopkeepers will see a steady stream of buyers who could purchase the bulk of the goodies.

Festivities planned for the night shopping event include special cultural shows to engage the crowd. The police force is extending support to ensure that the crowd on the road takes a disciplined course amidst all sorts of revelry.