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Traders bid to boost sagging Diwali sales in the Capital

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Shopping spree: Women at Pahar Ganj market in New Delhi on Sunday to buy household utensils on the occasion of Dhanteras.
Shopping spree: Women at Pahar Ganj market in New Delhi on Sunday to buy household utensils on the occasion of Dhanteras.

Staff Reporter

They resort to innovative business strategies to woo customers

NEW DELHI: The Diwali season which should have spelt booming sales for traders across the Capital has instead been marked by an unusual lull this year sending shopkeepers into a tizzy to woo customers with innovative business strategies as a last resort to boost sagging sales.

Mukesh Goyal of Kriti Creations in Khan Market says: “With the sensex crash and inflation adversely affecting many of our customers, we have received many queries for Feng Shui items this Diwali that would help in relaxing finances. We have introduced a number of new focussed Feng Shui items to meet this demand despite low sales overall. We are also offering a free gift-packing service which would cost an additional Rs.50 elsewhere. In addition, we are replicating several of our imported Diwali gift items with duplicate designs and selling them at lower prices to cater to customers of all budget ranges.”

Some of the hot selling items at his shop include “sampoorn shriyantra’ priced at Rs.600 and “raksha sutra” or “silver puja mouli” priced at Rs.100 onwards.

“Last year customers handed out lists of varied gift items according to categories of importance of the person to be gifted, but this year most people have done away with the separate lists and ordered the same gift for all their associates,” added Mr. Goyal.

Hirdesh Sawhney who runs a garment store in Khan Market, said: “Since we cannot offer customers any massive discounts this season, we have had to adopt other strategies to counter the fall in business. The sensex crash and bomb blasts in the Capital have shooed away customers. Instead of coming out to shops and spend, they are preferring to stay at homes and save for a rainy day.”

“Not many customers are visiting the markets this year for Diwali shopping and those that visit either come to window shop or end up spending half of what they spent last year. Those clients who spent up to Rs.7,000 at our shop during last Diwali are spending just about Rs.2,000 this year by buying two instead of four dresses. So to manage decent profits we have resorted to early stocking, frequent re-stocking by mixing old and new stock to bring variety and catch both the new as well as our regular clientele,” he added.

Commenting on their regular Diwali strategy every year, Mr. Sawhney said: “Contrary to the norm of selling our clothes at higher prices during Diwali, this year we have already reduced our prices by up to 30 per cent. We are also selling our new winter stock at dirt cheap prices this Diwali, but there have been no customers as winter has not yet arrived. I am cutting down on my personal expenditure to cut our costs and I have also postponed my plans to redo the shop’s lighting system this Diwali owing to our lowered profits.”

The Khan Market Traders Association president, Sanjiv Mehra, who runs four stores in Khan Market, said: “Our business was good last Diwali but this year our sales in utensils and clothes have dipped by up to 35 per cent instead of increasing. Due to rising prices people cannot compromise on vegetables so they are cutting back on other things. Due to security threat traders are not being allowed to set up temporary stalls stocking Diwali items in our market this year so customers are going back empty handed.” Homemaker Bina Yadav, who visited Connaught place to shop, said: “The security factor and rising prices have taken all the fun out of Diwali shopping. Both buyers and traders are scared. I am opting for a no frills Diwali this year and have postponed all my plans to redo my house as I have cut down my Diwali budget drastically by sticking to buying just the basic items.”

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