LAHORE - As the Eid-ul-Fitr is approaching by the end of next week, trend of shopping is gaining momentum in the provincial metropolis and a large number of people are thronging city markets, despite financial crunch and ongoing war on terrorism, a survey has revealed.

However, amid all the crises the country is facing these days, prices for clothes, shoes, bangles, toys, sweets and other commodities have also surged swiftly as compared to the previous year, going beyond the purchasing power of people at large.

This year, retail prices of children, men and women wear - both homemade and imported - rose by 20 to 30 percent than the last year. Price a pant or shirt, which previous year was sold around Rs700 to Rs4000, is ranging from Rs1100 to Rs6000 this year. Locally made shoes are starting from Rs1500 to Rs4000 this time, whereas these were sold for Rs1200 to Rs3000 last year.

According to the survey conducted by The Nation, a huge gap between rich and poor of society has been witnessed with the latest shopping trends. Moreover, it has been seen that a majority of people, especially youth, is more inclined to buy branded items like readymade clothes, shoes and other fashion wears.

Most of the shopkeepers are witnessing lesser volume of transaction as compared to previous years when the markets were humming crowd shopping for Eid. On the other hand, fancy shops, especially of famous brands, are witnessing overcrowded with buyers and the owners and salesmen seem satisfied with their booming businesses and high sales.

A salesman at a famous women clothing brand said the trend is emerging among people to buy branded cloths because these outlets have fixed rates even in regular days and do not exploit the consumers in the name of any festivity like Eid. People are more attracted towards the branded goods because of durability and unique designs, obviously in affordable prices, he added.

On the other hand, a large number of makeshift shops have sprung up on the pavements of Lahore ahead of Eid. Buyers, mostly from lower and middle classes, are going window shopping while roadside stalls and shops in small markets are found more crowded than the big shopping malls.

As Lahorites are famous for their enthusiasm, celebrating each and every festival with traditional zeal and fervour, people are going on shopping spree just a few days before Eid, despite financial crunch and security issues. Soon as the shopping centres open early noon, a huge rush of people especially families is seen which lasts till midnight.

This also affects traffic in the city’s busy markets including Naqi Market on The Mall, Panorama Centre, Liberty, Anarkali, Fortress Stadium, Defence, Moon Market, Madina Market, Link Model Town Road, Shah Alam Market, Kashmiri Bazaar. Lesser space for parking is also causing hindrance in the traffic flow near these busy markets.

Whereas, trader community seems glad due to this seasonal business after a long break in business activities. But there are many who are disappointed, even though the sale is pumped up since the start of Ramazan. They say the prevailing circumstances in the country have destroyed their businesses and they are not earning as much as the previous years.

Due to severe financial crisis, according to them, they are hardly earning bread for their families after paying huge rents, utility bills and other taxes.