Dhaka,  Wednesday
29 May 2024

Footpath shops boom as winter wear prices soar amid cold wave 

Enayet Khan, Brahmanbaria

Published: 04:35, 6 January 2024

Footpath shops boom as winter wear prices soar amid cold wave 

Shoppers are flocking to street shops in Brahmanbaria town to purchase winter clothes, as a chilling cold wave sweeps across the country.  Photo: Messenger

As the cold wave sweeps across the country, the stark reality of soaring prices for winter clothes is impacting residents in Brahmanbaria town, particularly the lower middle to lower class, who find solace in the affordable offerings of sidewalk shops and mobile vans.

Large and small shopping malls alike in Brahmanbaria City are reflecting high price tags on winter clothing items, pushing those with tighter budgets toward alternative options. The prices for winter attire range from Tk 100 to Tk 400 at these makeshift stalls, making them a popular choice for those seeking to stay warm without breaking the bank.

With winter settling in throughout the country, Brahmanbaria is no exception. However, the arrival of winter also brings concerns about health risks, prompting extra caution among the populace. Consequently, the bustling sidewalk shops, often as crowded as their larger counterparts, witness a significant influx of buyers, with some locations experiencing even higher foot traffic.

Various locations in the city, including Bangabandhu Square, Sadar Hospital Road, and Cord Road, host a range of winter clothing options. Sweaters, jackets, mufflers, coats, pants, ear caps, and hand socks—all essential winter wear—are available at these spots. The merchandise is sourced from both Dhaka and Chattogram, making it accessible to the local community.

Nizam Ali and Russel Mia, vendors conducting business on the pavement, revealed the challenges they face due to increased costs. "We brought clothes loaded in sacks from different garments in Dhaka. Now, we have to pay three hundred rupees more per bag," they lamented. Consequently, prices have seen an uptick, with garments that were sold for Tk 150 last year now tagged at Tk 180. Despite the challenges, vendors report brisk business, with Jiban Mia stating, "Monday suddenly turned cold; that's why customers are pouring in. I've sold clothes worth six thousand rupees from morning till noon."

Vipul Mia, a seller from Pakshimul village in Sarail upazila, echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the broad appeal of sidewalk shops. He reported high demand for clothes, not only from the economically disadvantaged but also from more affluent customers. To meet this demand, Mia has made multiple trips to Dhaka, initially investing Tk 70,000 in winter merchandise.

Md. Arman, a resident of Madhyapara in the city, highlighted the economic advantages of purchasing from sidewalk vendors. "If bought from a shopping mall, the price would have been Tk 600-700. I bought it from the footpath for 250 rupees," he explained. However, he acknowledged that many in the community still struggle to afford even these more affordable options.

In response to the economic challenges faced by some residents, social organizations have stepped in to distribute blankets to those in need. These initiatives aim to support the vulnerable population enduring the harsh winter conditions on the streets, with promises to continue such efforts as the season progresses.

Despite challenges faced by vendors due to increased costs, brisk business is reported, with both economically disadvantaged and affluent customers finding appeal in these accessible options. Social organizations have also intervened, distributing blankets to support the vulnerable population during the harsh winter.