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Sales dipping after end of odd-even rule, say Chandigarh shopkeepers

Business down by 25% to 50% say traders as people prefer groceries to garments and show no inclination for shopping

Updated: Jul 07, 2020, 20:31 IST

By Rajanbir Singh, Hindustan Times Chandigarh

An almost deserted Shastri Market in Sector 22, Chandigarh, after crowds stay away due to Covid-19 fears. (HT photo)

Shopkeepers in the city are reporting a dip in sales a week after the administration allowed shops in congested markets here to open without the odd-even rule set before.

“Since all shops remain open now there is competition among shopkeepers to get more customers, because of which footfall is going down. Opening shops on all days and not on odd and even days is not bringing in more money. My sales are down 50%,” says Sanjeev Kumar, president of Patel Market in Sector 15.

Earlier, the shopkeepers had sent numerous pleas to UT adviser Manoj Parida asking that the odd-even rule be removed.

Expenses are piling up to add to the problem, says Narinder Singh, president of the Sector 19 Sadar Bazar. “After the odd-even rule we have been handed power bills and have to pay taxes, so things have not looked up for us. Around 20 shops rented out in Sadar Bazar have closed, and others will be shut down too if the government doesn’t provide any stimulus to traders.”

Garments business hit

Jaswinder Nagpal, president of Shastri Market in Sector 22, says products are being marked down to attract more customers. “We kept a margin of around 15% to 20% but now we are happy if we make a 10% profit as we rarely get any customers. Most traders here sell garments but there is no demand as people choose to buy groceries. People stay home all day and many of them are also out of jobs, so buying new clothes isn’t a priority.”

Meanwhile, Rajinder Singh, president of Manimajra Motor Market, remains hopeful of things improving soon. “It is important that all shops in the market stay open as different shops deal with different motor parts. The odd-even rule was causing customers some hassles. Business will pick up soon.”

Echoing this sentiment, Charanjiv Singh, chairman of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, adds, “Not just in congested markets, all markets in the city have been hit in July as the number of Covid-19 cases are rising. With only a 25% demand in the market, shops must stay open while observing safety measures so that normalcy is restored in the markets.”


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