The inflation rate was above 9 per cent for almost the entire 2023. Apart from food price hike, the inflation of non-food items was also quite high.
The traders say although the consumers of the super shops are not low income people, a large portion of them are under immense pressure due to the inflation.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Prince Bazar chairman Kazi Ruhul Amin said, “Although the number of customers hasn’t decreased that much, sales have declined. Those who used to spend Tk 2,000 at the super shops are now spending Tk 1,000.”
Super shop chain Shwapno executive director Sabbir Hasan Nasir said, “In some cases, the buyers have curbed purchases by 10 to 20 per cent. Otherwise, we could make more profit.”
Apart from the inflation, the entrepreneurs are facing problems in opening letter of credit (LC) due to the rise in dollar price, leading to a fall in the overall growth of profit. Besides, the customers have to bear some four to five per cent VAT (value added tax) for purchasing from the super shops. As a result, many customers avoid super shops. So, the super shop owners demanded a more consistent VAT.
Meena Bazar chief operation officer (COO) Ahmed Shoyeb Iqbal said, “The super shops are now playing an effective role in meeting people’s daily needs as well as controlling the monopoly prices of products. However, the market of super shop business will extend further if it gets equal privileges like the open markets.”
*This report appeared on the print and online versions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu