In the aftermath of COVID-19, the local clothing businesses seized hold of the major festival seasons to stand erect all again. In the last year, local brands and retailers missed the two biggest annual events as the pandemic was at its peak that time. So they have been gearing themselves up recently.
Clothing businesses saw their last big days in February 2020, before the outbreak of the pandemic; which, never ran optimum until now. The Falgun and Valentine’s Day commenced their factories full-blown. Though the biggest events like Pohela Boishakh and Eid-ul-Fitr are yet to come, the February fests have already sat on to bring customers.
Monsoor Ahmed, Secretary of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) said that “Every year, local spinners and weavers can sell Tk 25,000 crore worth of yarn and fabrics during the Pohela Boishakh and Eid-ul-Fitr festivals. Last year, we missed a huge amount of business as most of the factories were closed during the two big festivals in March and April.”
Though the pandemic threat has not been eradicated thoroughly, the business insiders hope that the vaccination program will build confidence and let people come out of their homes like before.
Ahmed expects as much as Khalid Mahmood Khan, one of the founders of Kay Kraft, who says, “It is expected that people will start coming out from their homes.”
Kay Kraft running 25 outlets countrywide, started facing slackened turnovers from March 2020.
Another business leader Biplob Saha, the Managing Director of Bishwarong said that business is recovering slowly but it is yet to be optimum. Missing out on two main profit-making opportunities last year hit them hard.
On the other hand, the Managing Director of Sadakalo, Azharul Hoque Azad said, “The students and teachers constitute a major segment of customers of those goods. So, the sales of clothing items might not be as good as we are expecting now.”
There are a couple of other challenges standing in front of the local brands and retailers. One is the sparing tendency of people in fear of COVID-after uncertainty and another is the online or virtual platform of modern businesses. Many brands, even small retailers found it more profitable marketing through digitalization as online purchasing has gained popularity over the years.
The local clothing market is more than 10,000 crore and the local garment market is about $14 billion.
Azad said, “It is true that the sales of clothing items will increase this year but not to the level of pre-COVID times.”
The Chairman of Little Star Spinning Mill, Khorshed Alam expressed that he has reached the pre-COVID production level already, which is a sign of revival.
He said, before COVID-19, his factories yielded 15,000 to 17,000 pounds of yarn daily for the local market. Now he produces the same every day; though, it fell to 8,000 pounds a day during the pandemic.