TRADERS are hoping that their business will improve in the final two weeks leading up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri, as it has remained slow since the start of Ramadan.
Dapur Ummi sales assistant Erny Idris, 48, said business at the kiosk selling cookies and kerepek (crackers) was down by about 70% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year and the movement control order.
“Business is slowly picking up now but the momentum is not as good as the pre-pandemic days, ’’ she said when met at the kiosk in Angsana JB Mall, Johor Baru.
Erny said customers were spending on items they needed to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri, but they had reduced their budget due to the economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic.
She noted that some were not in the mood for the festivity as they were anticipating that the government would not allow interstate travel for Hari Raya.
“Prior to the pandemic and the MCO, most of the kiosk’s customers would buy a lot of cookies to bring back to their kampung for the festival, ” said Erny.
“About half of our customers are Singaporeans but they cannot enter Johor Baru since the border between Malaysia and Singapore is still closed.’’
She said her employer had instructed her to give a discount to customers who bought a certain amount of cookies.
The outlook is much brighter now compared to last year for Teluk Belanga Design proprietor Jamil Sukaimi, 55, who said he had to stop taking orders for baju melayu teluk belanga and cekak musang in the first week of April.
He said the tailoring orders started coming in late last month, when the government allowed physical Ramadan bazaars and Muslims could go to mosques for terawih prayers during the fasting month this year.
“Business was bad for me last year. We didn’t receive a single order of baju melayu for Hari Raya, ” said Jamil.
He said most of the orders that he received this year were from his regular customers in Johor Baru.
Jamil said he had to turn away orders from people living in other states and those from Singapore.
“I did not want to take the risk of not being able to deliver the finished products on time, as the orders had to be done within the first two weeks of the fasting month.
“We have about 500 pieces to finish in less than three weeks, ” he said, adding that the blue of the Johor flag was the popular colour this year.