Despite scorching June heat, markets across Kashmir are witnessing festive fervor as shoppers have started thronging bazaars to make purchases for the Eid-ul-Fitr, to be celebrated next week.
Several traders and shopkeepers on Friday told Greater Kashmir that business sentiment is yet to revive in Kashmir after it received a huge blow in 2014 floods and improvement is only possible if common people have a high disposable income.
Muhammad Yaseen Khan, president, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation said high-returns from export of bumper Kashmiri apple crop last year is showing results on the overall economy. Blows of demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Service Tax are still being felt here, said Khan, who also heads Kashmir Economic Alliance.
"During April and May Kashmiri apple, which was lying in the cold chains, has fetch good returns in mandis and has helped to float some liquidity in the local markets. But this money is limited to only a section of people. We are hopeful that Eid followed by a wedding season will provide a boost to the trade," Khan said. "Due to the relatively prevailing peaceful situation there has been a positive impact and we are hoping it remains the same," Khan said.
This Ramadhan, in-order to attract more shoppers, several branded showrooms and retail chains are using social media to showcase their offers and new products. An ethnic clothing brand which has showrooms pan-India and was launched in Srinagar recently is reaching out directly to its customers ahead of the Eid with help of promotional text messages. "Gear up this festival with a fabulous Kurta and other exclusive occasion wear from a wide range of garments at the Srinagar store," reads a message from this brand.
Farhan Kitab, chief spokeperson, KTMF said new product arrivals along with discounts offered by showrooms is helping to lift the market sentiment but added that long-term recovery is possible by end of the year. "Showrooms in certain markets are planning to offer mega Eid discounts. If an entire market announces Eid discount, it will help to attract more customer footfalls to the entire area," says Kitab.
A proprietor of a recently opened women's wear showroom at Rajbagh says using social media in the present digital age is one of the most important marketing tools. "We shifted our showroom from Rawalpora to Rajbagh and couldn't find a better time than Eid to promote our brand. Our Facebook page has been buzzing with new promotional posts hoping for maximum footfalls," he said.
Several high-end bakery shops have already launched their promotional Eid campaigns highlighting new varieties of cakes and cookies.