Footwear traders struggling to recover losses09 May 2021
Eid shoppers throng at a market for shoes in the capital’s Ramna Bhaban on Saturday.
Al Amin :
The domestic manufacturers and retailers in the footwear sector are struggling hard to regain losses ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr, the largest festival of the Muslim community.
The sector insiders said, the sales of the footwear have increased compared with the last year, but less than in 2019. Normally, around 30 per cent sales took place ahead of the Eid festival.
The Apex Footwear, Bata, Bay, Hamco, Jennys, Fortuna, Crescent, Vibrant, Leatherex, STEP, Walkar, Orion, Falcon, Zeils and Sampan are gaining traction in terms of popularity and market share. Most of the footwear companies have injected new investments as well as diversified their products centring the upcoming Eid festival, although they apprehended that the sales would be less than the normal time, the traders said.
But the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has changed the very dynamics of the domestic footwear market with almost all major players suffering major sales blues during the last couple of festivals.
The large-scale job losses and salary cuts have impacted footwear sales big time, they said.
"Many people are at home after losing jobs due to the pandemic. How will they buy lifestyle goods," Iftekhar Mallick, Head of Marketing of Bata, a subsidiary of the Switzerland-based Company, told The New Nation on Saturday. "However, we keep our shops opening in a limited scale by maintaining social distancing norms and other safety requirements across the country," he said.
He further said customers of all ages want to put on a new pair of shoes on the Eid day and considering this, we have introduced shoes around 500 new designs.
A wide range of footwear items for gents, ladies and kids made from leather, canvas and clothes, rubber, plastics, artificial leather and others are available in the markets.
To drive sales in the biggest spending season of the country, local brands have been offering 10 percent to 20 percent discount throughout the month of Ramzan.
"We are following all kinds of health guidelines as per the instructions of the government. The sales have increased this year compared with 2020 but lower than 2019," said Nasir Khan, Managing Director of Jennys.
He says that sandals and shoes are high on the shopping lists of customers from all walks of life.
Renowned brands such as Apex, Jennys, Bata, Bay, Zeils and Leatherex as well as imported footwear, especially non-branded Chinese products have been found to be high in demand for their lower prices and pretty look.
The male customers prefer sandals to match with panjabi and female customers have a preference for slippers.
Md Omar Faruque, Company Secretary of the Apex footwear, said they had missed the prime sales as people avoided shopping due to the pandemic.
The company is selling footwear and leather goods through about 260 sales points across the country.
The retailers are now setting their eyes set on Eid-ul-Azha to make up for the losses suffered.