The demonetization drive launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 has prolonged the usual post-Diwali lull period a bit this year, hitting sales hard ahead of Christmas in Bhopal markets as people are reluctant to spend money. This drive has affected all the business sectors, specially the small ones, across the country.
‘By mid-December, we’ve sold not even half our stock’
“By mid-December, we would sell off 80% of our stock but this year it is not even half. I went to New Delhi and somehow managed to buy Christmas stuff this year amidst cash crunch as most of sellers deal in cash there. But little did I know that this monetization drive would be so prolonged that even today people would think twice to spend money,” said Harry Bhateja, a local shopkeeper in 10 number market.
“This time of the year used to be the best in terms of sales and profits but this year even after toiling so much we are running into losses,” says Haseena Khan, a cosmetic stall owner at a mall in Bhopal.
The banning old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and not being able to withdraw enough cash from banks and ATMs have taken away the charm of shopping for Christmas and year-end celebrations this year.
“Every second person goes for card transactions these days. But there might be some unlucky ones who incidentally either lost or left their cards when they are out. I am stuck today. My mother asked me to get stuff for cakes and I am helpless as I don’t have cash with me and I also left my card at home. Now if I have to go back home and ask for money I will definitely be scolded,” says Aditya Dhanraj, a student.
“Nearly 50,000 city people celebrate Christmas in a grand manner. This is the time when their homes are all decked up, they spend hugely on clothes and food. Besides, they party hard and invite people over for dinner. All this seems to have been hit by demonetization this year.” says P Joseph, a government employee, adding people are more cautious when it comes to spending money now.
‘Only 40% of our regular buyers have turned up’
Echoing similar views, Ankit Jain of Mahavir wholesale gift store in Chowk Bazaar says, “We had regular buyers of things like Christmas trees, confetti, Santa Claus attire et al but as of now not more than 40% of them (buyers) have turned up.”