Christmas shoppers would swamp markets in Mizoram’s capital Aizawl but it’s a different scenario this year in the markets of Aizawl as demonetisation shows its effect. Both customers and sellers are suffering for lack of cash.
‘Compared to last year, our sales have drastically gone down as the people’s purchasing power has been hit by the restrictions on withdrawal of cash from banks and ATMs. Small businesses have been hit hardest by demonetisation as swipe machines are still a far cry,’ Sangtei, a garment vendor at Millennium Centre, the city’s largest shopping mall, said today.
The scenario is the same at New Market, the largest shopping complex. ‘Usually, Christmas sales commence by the end of November and reach its climax by this time. But there is just two days left for Christmas, and yet there are very few customers,’ said another garment shop owner at New Market.
‘We have made collections from far-off places, including Bangkok and Shanghai just like other years. But this year, we don’t have many customers, even though the market is still crowded with people,’ she added.
The shortage of Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes also come as problem for both customers and sellers. ‘Even if we have money, we cannot buy things we like. Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes are not available in most of the ATMs. The shops usually don’t have change when we give a Rs 2,000 note to buy something that costs less than five hundred rupees,’ said a shopper.
Moreover, online shopping has affected brick-and-mortar shopping in Aizawl since the last two-three years. Shopkeepers at the Millennium Centre which houses around 332 shops said that sales had gone down by at least 25 per cent last year compared to the previous year.