Little India slowly coming alive again


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020

Back in business: Aditya arranging the clothes imported from India on a mannequin at his shop in Little India, George Town, Penang. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: After several months of suffering, business is slowly picking up at famed Little India, with walk-in customers now returning to the shopping enclave.

And good news for shoppers too as the traders there are doing their part in luring shoppers by offering steep discounts and promotions.

Textile and saree shop owner Aditya Pandian, 21, said business was slowly coming back on track with great deals being offered to customers.

“We had zero income for around two months during the MCO (movement control order) period. To weather the tough times, we have been promoting online shopping.

“Although our business has dropped by at least 50%, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel as walk-in customers have started returning to this place.

“To boost business, we are clearing old stocks at cost price,” he said when met at his shop in Little India.

Aditya said 80% of his products were imported from India.

“Thankfully, the import price is almost the same now as compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We decided to narrow the profit margin as customers’ buying power is low. Our goods are coming in stages and there will be enough stock for Deepavali as the shipments are slowly arriving,” he said.

“We are positive that sales will increase during Deepavali.”

Meanwhile, arts and handicrafts shop owner San Babu, 33, said business had dropped by between 70% to 80% due to MCO.

“There is not much sales as the people’s spending power is still low. Our business is slow and hasn’t picked up completely yet,” he said.

“We hope that sales will improve by mid-October, several weeks before the Deepavali celebration.”

San said previously, his brother would go to southern India to look for new stocks twice a year.

“However, he is unable to do so this year due to the international travel ban. Our products are mostly handmade and there are transportation problems due to the restricted movement time limit in India.

“We are uncertain if we can bring in new stocks in time for Deepavali this year but the current stock should be enough for now,” he said adding that their lantern, cushion cover, sandal, vest and skirt were mostly imported from India.

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