Diwali season a dull affair for Connaught Place traders

Even as the people have begun to venture out in the wake of relaxations in restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, the footfall of potential customers at shops and businesses in Connaught Place is yet to pick up.

It was estimated that business to the extent of 40 per cent had been affected in this central Delhi area due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In normal times, the shops and other businesses – mostly of branded clothing and accessories like shoes, bags etc – were bustling with customers, including foreigners.
But nowadays, with Diwali only a few days away, the area wears a somewhat desolate look on weekdays.

Though the footfall increases on Saturdays and Sundays after the relaxations were announced, the business is otherwise dull on the weekdays, shopkeepers said.

“We have a footfall of only 50 per cent compared with the normal times. Of this also, only 80 per cent actually are buyers,” a clothes’ shop manager Sonu Singh told IANS.

“People are slowing venturing out, but only 50 per cent of the normal rush is seen in our area, though our business sees an uptick on weekends. People are still afraid of coronavirus,” shopkeeper Sachin Kumar said.

He said that other shopkeepers rued that the business had tanked after the coronavirus pandemic. They claim that though people are visiting Connaught Place, most come just to roam around and not to do actual shopping.

“Only a few days are left for Diwali, but we are awaiting customers,” he remarked.

Another shopkeeper pointed out that with many people losing jobs or facing financial crunch, the demand for expensive shoes and clothes had been affected, impacting the businesses dealing in such commodities.

New Delhi Trade Association General Secretary Vikram told IANS that there has been a 30 to 40 per cent fall in business as the pandemic has forced a lifestyle change in the people.

“Demand for formal clothing has decreased due to work-from-home norm. We will also have to change accordingly. Many businesses were dealing with other products, but of late they too have started selling sanitisers etc,” he added.

Association member Amit Gupta said: “This festive season will be colourless affair as people are still afraid of coronavirus. There has been a 30 per cent dip in customers. Whatever expectations we had of this festive season are gone.”