Lackluster retail activity

Usually when Ramzan starts the streets of this city, or the main shopping streets at least light up with festivity. Eid which follows the month of Ramzan is basically one event which every single family in Pakistan celebrates according to their own means.

However such is not the case this time as people in Karachi whatever class they belong to are so badly hit with inflation (around 27% since june) that they can hardly afford to make ends meet let alone go around spending on new things for Eid.

This off course translates into disaster for the retail sector of our cities economy as ramzan is supposed to be peak season for everyone from the corner grocery store to the bangle walla to the shoe shops to the brand name stores etc etc.

We have already lost almost all of our cities industrial sector due to bad governance and a worsening security situation plus high costs of doing business. If the retail/consumer sector follows next I wonder what will be left in this city of ours??

The streets are deserted at night and the city of lights is darkened by despair, will there be someone to save this dazzling metropolis???

17 Comments so far

  1. Talha Aziz (aziztalha) on September 9th, 2008 @ 9:47 am

    We have already lost almost all of our cities industrial sector due to bad governance and a worsening security situation plus high costs of doing business.

    the power shortage has forced hundreds of small industries to shut down.. can u imagine how many families are related to even a single small cottage industry?

  2. llama on September 9th, 2008 @ 10:20 am

    uhh excuse me but have you lived in karachi for more than a year? If so you’d know that every year the first 10 days of ramzan are quiet since the shops dont open after iftar. the real activity starts around mid-ramzan building up to a frenzied pace as eid approaches.

    "The streets are deserted at night and the city of lights is darkened by despair, will there be someone to save this dazzling metropolis???"

    uff such melodrama! no matter what the energy crises, the lights at night will be back, you’ll see.

  3. ambreenmirza on September 9th, 2008 @ 11:54 am

    I think since begining , there always been a rising inflation in all over the world, I remember when I was a kid my grand father, stattering about the price of 5 kg tin of ghee, then may be 60Rs, he use to quarrel with the vendor saying this was only worth 5 RS, few days ago, as if now now a 5 KG tin of ghee may be more then 500Rs, so the percentage of inflation is always been the same, may be at that time my grand father bought that stuff for 5 Rs, but then his salary might be 200Rs at that time… think it over.

  4. Faisal.K (faisalk) on September 9th, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

    I have not only lived in Karachi all my life llama but my family owns a retail business here for the last 42 years. So i would suggest that we are perhaps a tad bit more knowledgeable than consumers when it comes to consumer trends. The shops open after the 8th roza..and activity is supposed to be frantic as people do not like to go out in the last ashra of ramzan normally.

  5. scherjiel on September 9th, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

    the price control committees and al the other measures by govt hv totally failed. i wonder if the govt has taken any serious measures to control the rocketting prices

    yeah theres always been rising inflation but then it was never that high in pakistan; 27%! thats the rate over the past few months
    bt since one week before ramadan the inflation rate has shot up even more
    fo the veggies and friuts, its almost 100 %, go to a phal walla or sabzi walla and findout the rates urself

  6. ameerhamza on September 9th, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

    ambreenmirza says:

    ‘ … few days ago, as if now now a 5 KG tin of ghee may be more then 500Rs, so the percentage of inflation is always been the same, may be at that time … ‘

    Percentage of inflation varies across regions and across times. For example, in Saudi Arab a coke can was worth Riyal 1 in 1980. It was worth Riyal 1 in 2004, when I visited the place. Therefore, inflation was near zero. (Economist might tell you that a coke can is not a barometer for gauging inflation index. He may be right but similarly other items like price of milk and showerma has not risen significantly).

    Here, USD was at 60 for most of Musharraf’s rule. Since elections it has risen to above 75 Rs/USD. And that has lot to do with inflation. One may notice that the inflation has not been constant or same in different periods. Same rule may be applied elsewhere in the world. For one, compare Switzerland with Zimbabwe.

  7. ameerhamza on September 9th, 2008 @ 3:16 pm

    Faisal K is right on target when he relates to consumer trends then and now. I really am also worried, being a businessman myself, that consumers are not as healthy or as frequent as they are supposed to be during these times (Ramazan). Lot of people who come here are window shopping more than buying. And off course rising rates of everything has to do with it.

  8. ambreenmirza on September 9th, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

    Once had oppertunity to meet and treat with some business class of indivuals, I was shocked to notice as they were arguing about price hike, I literally slipped from the luxurious sofa as one of the guy quoted ”in Pakistan, if one litre price of petol would be Rs. 1000, I care a damn.

    Oh, that day I got a clear message that there is only one class which is bound to survive that is the upper class, nevertheless how and from where they collect huge, over flowing wealth and bounty,
    As history tells this kind of situation is a parrallel today to today result of increasing street crimes and organised dacoities, and it can even turn in to a civil war kind of situation, becouse if THE REASON WHY A, DONT HAVE ANY THING TO EAT, IS BECOUSE B, HAS LOT MORE THEN HIS REQUIREMENT, I mean there is no correct distribution of wealth, a poor is getting poorer, and rich is getting richer, its going to be tough boy…..

  9. zeeshan on September 9th, 2008 @ 8:19 pm

    I think we should wait for the 15th Ramzan. We should see some activity. No matter how high the inflation is, Ramzan will always be more active month when it comes to shopping and business though it does not mean that it’ll be the same as say 2 years ago.

  10. tzaidi on September 9th, 2008 @ 8:32 pm

    Pewista Reh Shajar Se Umeed-e-bahar Rakh

  11. Kashif Aziz (kashaziz) on September 10th, 2008 @ 4:23 am

    Ramadan is not for shopping but for praying and repenting. All those who waste the nights (especially last ashra) in markets and malls are really at loss. There is a strong trend going on since last few years of people doing their Eid shopping well before Ramadan. Pre-Ramadan sale (to clear up their shelves for Eid stock) at almost all outlets across the city has further facilitated this.

  12. scherjiel on September 10th, 2008 @ 9:29 am

    @kashif aziz; its not about the religion; prayers and repenting only
    i knw its very debatable bt deen doesnt forbid u from shoppin or hangouts
    its also about the urban lifestyle and the culture
    call it ramazan culture and find out for me that where in the muslim world ppl dunt go out shoppin and preparin for Eid
    no one goes out al the last 10, 15 ayyaam shoppin al the nights like mad. its 3 or 4 times the maximum each person or family goes out for eid shoppin

  13. truepakistani on September 10th, 2008 @ 10:18 am

    Itni chutiyaapay aur itni ek dosroo ko pin point na karoo,,,,, Jao aur namazay paroo aur dua karoo kay Allah Pakistan ko salamat rakhay…!! Ramzan Mubarak…. !! May GOD saves our country!!

  14. scherjiel on September 10th, 2008 @ 11:38 am

    lol Allah Ramazan namaz ke saath start zabardast lya hai

  15. Shamsi (shamsi) on September 10th, 2008 @ 1:53 pm

    This year Ramzan, after Sunday 15 09 2008 Ifftar, markets will start buzzing, though under the prevailing circumstances of power situation, financial situation of middle class businessman, and inflation, Mediocre salaried ~ White collar class will be on Tight leash, but crowd will be no less in markets., as eve teasing causes no money.

    At the same time in cash crunch Job less situation street crime snatching from ladies during the day and after Ifftar will be at peak,

    I would like to caution and request all of you to raise an alert among all about parking your cars in well lit areas, walking in groups, walking "in the direction of coming traffic" instead of "going in the direction of traffic", atleast in this way the snatchers who are usually on the bikes would have some trouble targetting, cross the road if that help. Keep your handbags, wallets hidden.

    However try not to resist an snatcher, DO NOT Hand OVER the items you have, (even you are scared) pretend to be badly scared, Throw away losely whatever you have so it scatters, that can save SOME and less chances of attempt on your life if resisted,

    Between an Warning from an snatcher to Getaway is 10 sec gap, If you can stay in your senses and manage a calm 12th second he will yell abuse and 15th second he will be gone.

    All above scenario is when the snatcher have shown you a gun but hidden from passerby.

    Allah keep us SAFE – Ameen

  16. hbrehman on September 10th, 2008 @ 8:50 pm


    sharam karo…ALLAH ka khauf karo…tum jaisay musalmaano ki wajha se aaj musalmaan deen se dur hain..

  17. scherjiel on September 11th, 2008 @ 10:04 am


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