Salalah, June 10 – Salalah, which bore the brunt of Cyclone Mekunu recently, has returned to normal. Yet, there was a slight difference in the shopping pattern ahead of the Eid. The weather, apparently, was playing a key role in their buying behaviour. This time, their focus was more on basic items such as fruits, vegetables and personal care goods such as soaps, shampoos etc. There were few buyers for readymade garments, mattresses, curtains, furniture, bed covers. Following the cyclone warning, people had procured many items such as an additional LPG gas cylinder, torches, batteries, emergency lighters, candles, water bottles, rice, flour, pulses etc.
“Your resources are limited. Either you spend them on buying basic and necessary things or luxury items. It is not like people are not buying readymade garments, crockery, utensils at all, but the volume has reduced significantly compared with the previous seasons,” said a Salalah-based hypermarket manager on condition of anonymity. For instance, “those who were buying four items last season are buying two now”. He cited the same reason for the panic buying witnessed a day before the cyclone struck Salalah. “Following instructions from the municipality and Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP), we had kept enough stock to meet the situation.
The volume of sales of all basic items was very high. Same people are buying for Eid, and basic grocery items are top on their list,” he said.
In terms of the total volume of sales, hypermarkets did not suffer much as the stock both luxury as well as basic goods. Customers have been thronging their outlets both before and after the cyclone strike.
Outlets specialising in readymade garments, shoes and decorative goods are feeling the pinch due to a substantial decrease in sales.
One of the outlets admitted the “correction” this season was between 17 per cent and 20 per cent.
Still, they are hopeful the government and private sector employees will get their salaries two to three days before the Eid.
They hope the business will get compensated during this time.