26 Oct 2021  |   04:44am IST

Better but still a long way to go

The virus is slowly and steadily receding and as we approach the festival season, the small businesses will hope for a rebound in business. Will it be a better festival season for them or will it be more of the same. Members of the business community voiced their opinion
Better but still a long way to go



The picture has been the same

for a while now. Depressing is the word. The financial figures have been depressing. The bottom lines at various small businesses in the state were drenched in red. Jobs were lost across sectors. Now with Diwali around the corner will business turn around. Will companies selling air conditioners, mobile phones, jewellery see better days? The pandemic has changed the behavior of people. Many people are now quite comfortable buying clothes, mobiles, books and even air conditioners and more online.

Muzaafar of Jamsons, one of the largest mobile retailers in the state, said everyone would have a market but Jio was doing a very good job taking the business. He also said people were now going online to check out deals for mobiles and buying them. He said “They get discounts online which we can never match. They are not concerned that servicing of these units is not possible. Business will improve in the run up to Diwali but let’s see how it all works out.” Another salesman in another outlet who was not authorized to speak to the media said young people were coming in and checking the mobiles and asking if bigger discounts were possible and would leave disappointed. He said business would be better this year in the run up to Diwali but that would not be saying much because it was terrible last year.

Another favourite expense is the purchase of jewelry. Sujata, a sales executive at Shobha Jewellers said she had no idea how business would flow because till date it had been very slow and all of them were hoping for the best.

Pradip Bhatt of Abharan Jewellers said business was good and that people were coming. He refused to speak anymore. Vaibhav Shirodkar of Shirodkar Jewellers felt business would be slightly better this year because the sentiment was slightly better and the number of people who were vaccinated had increased dramatically. The situation on the ground was much better than the previous year and he hoped this would translate into sales.

Damodar Raikar of Shukra Jewellers however pointed to a very disturbing trend when he said business had been reducing every year and he hoped that trend would be arrested this season. He said he did not know the reason why business was reducing but it was a reality.

Another long time player in the business who did not want to come on record said business would be better when compared to the last year but that would not be saying much. Everyone jeweler he said had set a number of clients with whom they had developed a rapport developed over several years. Business he said came but it would be much reduced when compared to the pre covid times but then any business would be welcome.

The purchase of white goods is another aspect of the festival season. Rajesh, a salesman in Essential Electronics said the Diwali sales would continue till November 15. Business would be better this year as compared to last year when there was no business. He said “Interested prospective customers are coming in though the numbers are very low. And yes all of them are asking for discounts for television sets, fridges and washing machines.”

Other outlets that were contacted refused to speak with the general sentiment being that business was anyway very slow and there was nothing to talk about. The sentiment is low but there is hope some business will be conducted and hopefully perhaps a day before Diwali, there could be a last minute rush.

One can only hope business sentiment improves because that could mean the festival season will genuinely be a time to celebrate.


Idhar Udhar