Recession and tight budgeting kept the shoppers away
By Fareeha Qayoom
ast weekend (or was it the weekend before the last?) we decided to browse all the sales at the Y commercial sector, DHA…One place we stopped by was – Ideas by Gul Ahmed. We explored all the floors, looking at pillows, pillowcases, beds-in-a-bag, sheet sets and of course, apparel. There was one leather jacket with embroidery on sleeves and front that caught my eye – the price was PKR 2800. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in my size. Hmmm. The only thing we bought on sale? Pillow cases, 3 sets for PKR 200 apiece. Not a bad deal. But that was it. We decided to check out Chen One before buying any more stuff. The medium sized bath towels were PKR 180 on sale. I forget the price of pillows – I think those were for PKR 540 per unit. For a sale at a major store, there was hardly any crowd. A few couples and families were browsing which is normal for non-sales days too.
We also visited Levi’s – as usual, they didn’t have my size – there was a nice blend of winter casual/sport clothes. I might have bought a couple of items if they had my size but what the heck, it was worth a browse. Unfortunately, there was hardly anyone around browsing or buying any of the stock on offer.
There is a shoe shop right next to Levi’s store – Charles and Keith (hopefully, this is their correct name, I am not sure I remember it correctly)…pretty collection of shoes but way too expensive or was it that since we didn’t need shoes, it didn’t appeal to our impulse buying instincts? There was a little crowd of women there. At least, the atmosphere here was a bit festive – you know, a crowd of people browsing the place for bargains…the discounts were for 10-30 percent on original prices.
The next stop was Next Store – the sale was already over. I had a good browse checking out the new stock. There was hardly any customer. The best time to browse. There was more petite sized stock in store. Quite a few smart new fashion knit tops, business casual woven blouses and tops, jeans, dress pants and one summer jacket in floral print. Unfortunately, the new stock didn’t have all sizes – size 16, size 12 and size 10 seemed to be missing in a few styles. The basic tee range was missing too…sigh. (I suggested to the sales person to stock up more items at the backend in their best selling sizes so a complete size set is on display at all times. This is only common sense.) It looked kind of weird, not having all sizes in stock.
We also stopped by at Bareeze – bought a few nice pieces of Chicken Kari fabrics in white and peach colors. Unfortunately, I don’t like their two-tone embroidery designs. For me, their classic self color embroideries are still a hot favorite. However, stock is limited in their tried and true classic designs, which is unfortunate.
If I was a buyer for these retailers in Lahore, Pakistan – my first priority would be creating a basic and fashion line for every season. Unfortunately, the buyers usually do not stock up a basic line. This seems be missing at most places and strangely enough, the basics are usually the hot-seller items. The fashion line comes and goes as it depends on the current fads.
The buyers for these retailers forget basic wardrobe needs steady replenishment. For example, my favorite basic tees in pink (I bought two for precisely this reason!) have shrunk in couple of seasons; one has a stain at the hem. Now, I want to stock up some more tees in basic and fashion colors but Next Stores do not have it in stock anymore – they were also missing white and black which was a major bummer. They had only fashion tops in stock for the new season.
Consumers might buy what’s in fashion right now to keep their wardrobe current but classic and basic silhouettes never go out of style. In times of recession and budgeting, most people prefer replenishing their basic wardrobes instead of going after the latest fad.
By the way, there was hardly any crowd in any of the stores. Retail seems to be down in this town too! I guess, “Money is too tight to mention!”•