Markets cautiously hopeful ahead of holiday shopping

A boy stops to look at a vendor’s wares in Amman on May 7, 2021. Business owners that spoke to Jordan News were hopeful that business would pick over the holidays. (Photo: Ameer Khalifa/Jordan News)
A boy stops to look at a vendor’s wares in Amman on May 7, 2021. Business owners that spoke to Jordan News were hopeful that business would pick over the holidays. (Photo: Ameer Khalifa/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Consumers and shop-owners in Swefieh articulated a common theme to Jordan News: This year, the shopping period for Eid Al-Fitr will be very different. اضافة اعلان

Customers said that whereas they may usually splurge during the eid period, now they only do essential shopping. “Our priorities are different now. We only buy what we really need and nothing more. Just some clothes and the most essential groceries needed for Eid,” one told Jordan News

“I only buy clothes for my kids,” said another customer. “I rarely buy clothes for myself. My kids are my priority, they are young and they have to enjoy eid. As for me I feel that such occasions need so much money that it is too much for me, especially in these circumstances we are facing.” 

“People come here for window shopping. They rarely buy and when they do they look for the cheapest items there,” said an employee who works for a popular clothing store on Wakalat Street. “I cannot deny that earnings are double in such occasions but that does not compensate our loss throughout the year.” 

Another employee in another clothing store told Jordan News that “there is a significant difference in our earnings between these days before eid and the first days of Ramadan. At the first days we suffered from lack of work, therefore lack of earnings, but nowadays people pass by our store and buy, some of them even buy at an amount of JD100 or more. I feel happy right now, but the sad thing is that this will not last forever. After eid I will suffer again from the lack of work.” 

However, butcher shops were crowded on Monday. Traditionally families serve mansaf on the first day of eid. “Meat is an essential commodity, the majority of families cannot stop buying it during pandemics, therefore I can say that we are not directly involved in the negative impacts that the coronavirus left,” a butcher shop owner told Jordan News

“For years, and even before the pandemic, some people were not able to buy meat. Maybe they buy it once every month or even less. Those people still cannot buy it. Nothing has changed”, he explained.

“Most of my customers, and the majority of them are rich, buy meat in large quantities throughout the year, and especially in eid, as they use it for Mansaf at the family gathering’s lunch.” 

“I expect that my earnings double in eid, and I pray that all people can afford to eat meat in eid, not for my own benefit, but so everyone could get the chance to enjoy the blessing of eid,” the owner added. 

Grocery store owners told Jordan News that they expect less crowding during eid. “People still come and buy their needs for Ramadan, as the holy month has not finished yet, they might also buy some goods for eid,” the owner of one grocery store said. “In Eid, people usually go to restaurants, visit each other, or even travel, they do not have enough time to come to grocery stores.” 

“We have been busy throughout the holy month. ... People come and buy their needs when they finish work, and that means that when lockdown begins at 6pm we barely handle finishing our job, and people also barely finish shopping. I thank God that the government decided to reduce the curfew hours for Eid and I wish that this remains after eid too.” 

“Things would have been vastly different if we were not under partial lockdown. Things would have been much different if shops and malls were not closed at 6pm,” a member of Amman Chamber of Commerce, told Jordan News under the condition of anonymity.

“Tens of thousands of people lost their jobs and sources of income, and they did not have enough cash to buy,” he said. 

“In Ramadan, to avoid shopping during the fasting hours especially because it is hot, people used to shop after iftar in the evening,” he added. “This was impossible this Ramadan because of the mandatory closure of shops and markets at 6pm.” 

“Things were bad before the spread of coronavirus, but Jordan has been suffering from economical recession since the last five or six years,” the member concluded. “In other words: things were not good turned to bad, but rather things were bad turned to worse.”

“I wish that the government took all that into consideration, and eased its measures on traders and businessmen,” he said. “This might have helped in reducing their accumulated losses, and would have helped in facing these hardships.”

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