Clothing vendors in Amman reported slow sales during the shopping week leading up to Eid Al Fitr,  but sweets shops were doing their usual brisk business.
Ali Abbadi, a garment seller in Amman’s Bayader area, said that business over the past week was much worse than usual.
“Last year, I earned around JD1,000 during the last week of Ramadan. This year, I have earned JD200 so far,” he told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.
The sales many vendors announced for the week have not enticed many customers, Abbadi added.
“There is also a new trend that came up recently,” he said. “My loyal customers decided to buy Eid clothing for Syrian refugees rather than for their children, which also affected my business.”
Saif Ammari, a trader in the upscale neighbourhood of Sweifieh, said his 10-year-old shop was also having a slow week, attributing the lull in business to customers’ tight budgets.
“Many people decided to skip buying new clothes in order to meet the expenses of Ramadan and Eid. Also, schools will open soon and most people want to prepare for this season,” Ammari said on Tuesday.
His neighbour Seemas Arsalan agreed, adding that upmarket vendors in areas like Sweifieh were doing especially poorly.
“This year, you rarely find people come to Sweifieh to buy Eid gifts because these items are expensive,” he told The Jordan Times at his store.
Sweets shop workers, on the other hand, said it was business as usual for them this week, with shoppers stocking up on Eid goodies.
Azzam Al Azzam, the manager of a sweets shop, said that demand for mamoul — the date-stuffed shortbread-like cookies traditionally served during Eid Al Fitr — is always high in the week leading up to the holiday, and this year was no exception.
“In the last three days of Ramadan, people start flocking to the sweets shops to buy mamoul in preparation for the holidays,” he told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.
Ossamah Durah, one of the owners of a restaurant and sweets shop, agreed, saying he did not expect to do any less business than last year by the time the week ended.
“Last year, we sold around 400 kilogrammes of mamoul and we expect to sell a good amount this year as well,” he said on Wednesday evening.
Ahmad Joundi, who works at Shaheen Roastery in the capital, said that demand for chocolate and coffee also increases significantly in the days leading up to Eid.
“These are essential items during the holidays,” he noted.
Mamoun Yaseen, a customer, said buying sweets and good coffee for Eid was simply obligatory.
“These are a must, because when people visit us, we serve them chocolate, coffee and cookies,” he said.
By Muath Freij