Owners of different businesses, as well as wayside shopkeepers in the Kingdom, have expressed their frustrations, as their sales had fallen by 20 per cent during the first days of the Eid festival, as compared to the previous years. Though Eid is the 'peak business season' for traders of different commodities, this year brought a 'big surprise ' to business owners, as the number of customers was far less than what they had earlier expected. Shopkeepers in Bab Al Bahrain, Manama, could be seen standing in front of their shops, waiting for customers who never seem to arrive.
According to them, the unrest in the Kingdom is the `major factor' behind the sudden decrease in the number of customers frequenting the business establishments especially in the evening. “Evening is the peak time for sale, but now, only few people come out of their houses during the evening because of the problems prevailing in the country,“ one of the shopkeepers told DT. Helal Uddin, a Bangladeshi shopkeeper said that the sale for this year has marked a fall of about 20 per cent compared to the previous years. “Late night, buyers in the Bab Al Bahrain area have fallen sharply following the incidents and protests. People do not go out shopping nowadays, mainly out of fear and for security reasons, “ he said. “Even during Eid, the people have lost enthusiasm in shopping following repeated protests , people do not feel comfortable and safe to go out shopping and they just purchase items which are of essential categories,“ he added. “It is preposterous that we are witnessing dull sales at a time when businessmen usually make a target of doing 50 to 60 per cent of their sale,“ said the owner of an Abaya tailoring shop, Mohamed Anwar. It was the same for some of the businessmen in Gold Souk area, Manama. One of the salesmen in a perfume stall said that the market was less crowded even on Eid. The stalls and shops were open but they got only two to three customers who were willing to buy something from their shops. “When people from other countries like Saudi comes to Bahrain shopping during Eid season, they used to spend a lot of their time in these parts of the city but nowadays, people are only visiting the malls to do their shopping.They believe that the mall is the safest place for them,“ he concluded.