Deepavali sales take a hit

Inflation, online shopping and political situation cited for the fall in festive sales

It’s massive 70% dip in festival sales on Dhanteras and ahead of Deepavali in Hyderabad. The trend is largely due to depression and prudence of people who are worried for a variety of reasons.

Buyers at a jewellery shop on the occasion of Dhanteras in Hyderabad on Friday. Photo: G. Ramakrishna

Key among the concerns are the proposed division of the State, market volatility, inflation, heavy retrenchment, online shopping and remarkable decrease in the number of credit cards.

As per the retail industry estimates, the sales dipped to 30 percent compared to last season. Jewellery shops, garment outlets, automobile, mobile and TV shops in the city are among the businesses impacted.

“It’s Dhanteras ahead of Deepavali but the foot-fall is remarkably low. We expected 1,000 people each day but we have less than 300 visiting our store. The same dip will reflect on sales,” said the manager of one of the major jewellery stores in Punjagutta. The general mood is gloomy in the city according to him.

The sales in the automobile sector are also flat this season, according to the industry.

The festival mood has not set in for software engineer P. Sairam. “I personally feel so empty after the Centre’s decision to divide the State that I really don’t feel like celebrating the festival. I don’t even know who to blame,” said the IT manager from Kundanbagh.

It is wise not to have a lavish festival and save money during volatility and recessionary atmosphere according to Aruna Rao, an employee in a pharmaceutical company. “I feel like keeping money in hand rather than investing on gold, mutual funds or routine shopping. And look at the inflation,” she said.

This apart, the ongoing retrenchment coupled with banks reducing the number of credit cards in Hyderabad market is another factor impacting shopping trend. “It could be because of job loss in a big way. The sale through credit cards too has come down substantially, so is the volume. It’s not as vibrant as last year,” said a manager of a retail outlet chain in Abids. Online shopping has also contributed to decline in market shopping, he said.

Incidentally, Hyderabad has the largest number of credit card defaulters in the country for one of the biggest private banks.