Even as Muslims across Mumbai are celebrating 'Eid Ul-Fitr' on Tuesday, local traders witnessing brisk business during the month of Ramzan, especially from the penultimate week when festival shopping picks up, have this time registered a 25-30% decline in sales compared to last year.
Customers usually flock to markets during the last days of Ramzan to shop for festive goods, and business for garments, jewellery as well as food items peaks as the celebrations near.
However, according to city traders, business was not as usual this year as rising prices of essential commodities have dampened 'Eid' shopping.
"Every year, we have a steady inflow of customers both men and women come to us to shop for clothes for the occasion of Eid. This is the only period when we can raise the prices of our goods marginally knowing that customers will shop, not giving a second thought. But this year, our business has gone down by about 30% , inspite of us giving discounts on our clothing," Moiz Lokhandwala, owner of Jazz International, a prominent ready made garment store in South Mumbai's Mohammed Ali Road, said.
People have probably started giving more importance to their basic necessities rather than splurging on Eid shopping, which they used to until this year, Lokhandwala added.
Adil Mapari, owner of an imitation jewellery shop in Bhendi Bazar area of South Mumbai said that women have been "cautious" in their approach in buying jewellery this time.
"Women regardless of their social status have been coming to shop for imitation jewellery a few days prior to Eid from ages. This time it has been a little different. Women are still found busy buying jewellery, but with a cautious stance. Sale on expensive items hasn't registered a high turnover this time around," he said.
Meanwhile, customers are complaining that though Eid comes only once a year, they have not been able to shop at will, due to rising prices.
"We try and save money from our monthly expenses so that we can use it to shop during the festival of Eid. But from the last few months, high prices of vegetables, meat and the ever increasing college fees of our students have tossed our monthly budget out of proportion. We were thus unable to shop at will this year," Sherebanu Juzar, a customer said.
Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated on the first date of Shawwal every year, that is the tenth month of the Hijri calendar.
On this day, Muslims gather in mosques to perform prayers which consist of a sermon, followed by a short congregational prayer.