KOLKATA: Chaitra sale, the most awaited phrase at this time of the year, has failed to impress this time. This is the first Chaitra after the GST regime came into action in July 2017.
Friday and Saturday, the last two days of the sale, will fall short by at least 30% compared to last year said hawkers at Gariahat and Hatibagan, the two Chaitra sale zones of the city. The hawkers have blamed the GST for the shortfall.
The crowd at Gariahat and Hatibagan on Friday, was much less in comparison to last year. Since Poila Baishak is on Sunday, the hawkers expected the sale to be better over the last two days. However, till late on Friday, the crowd remained thin at both Gariahat and Hatibagan.
Hawkers complained that despite increasing the margin of discount by 10% to 20%, keeping GST in mind, customers did not turn up in expected numbers.
Attractive festoons and posters announcing innovative sale plans greeted shoppers but failed to convert into sale figures.
“We had to hike our prices by 20% after GST and we are clearly mentioning the increase in our bills. People are having to pay anything between Rs 80 and Rs 200 extra depending on what they are buying. They are comparing the amount with pre-GST prices,” he rued.
Hawkers said they are having to procure items after paying GST in the wholesale market and even if they are not giving bills to customers, they are having to weave the extra amount in while determining prices of items. So every item seems much more expensive than last year.
“This time we have kept our margins slim so that we can pass on the maximum benefit to customers but the gap between us and shops is not very wide and this is having a negative effect on us” said Gautam Parui, who has been selling handloom sarees outside Basanti Devi College for 30 years.