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