Celebrating Easter in hard times

EasterDue to the hard times few people are going to the shopping malls and the market to buy things to prepare for the Easter. Although At Ikeja City Mall, was without the usual crowd but some people still go there to prepare for the Easter buying moderately or ‘cutting their cloth according to their size.’

One of the Brand hostesses of Vlisco Store, (where they are selling made in Holland textile materials), at the mall, Tope said that in every Easter people usually buy more things because it is the season to celebrate.

“The situation is still almost the same. People still buy. The price of everything is high even the price of the drink you take. I am not really impressed about the patronage by our customers but it is okay.”

The Manager of Sport World, Onyinye Thomas said that the prices of their goods are already discounted and the state of the economy will not allow them to discount further.

There is no much activities goin on at the mall, as far as business in concerned. Everything is at standstill right now. Some people that are buying is for health reasons. No flow of cash. May be because they are yet to pass the budget.”

She disclosed that despite the economic challenges people don’t play with their health.
“We have to sharpen our skills to convince our customers to patronize us. If you want to look good at Easter you have to exercise. Easter ought to be our peak period. High exchange rate of the Dollars has affected everything.”

One of her customers, Eniola Anthony, an IT Expert said that the economy impasse in the county has affected everybody’s pocket.
“I would have loved to go and watch moves with my brother and fiancé. I would have really loved to go shopping the way I used to shop different things. Buy things that I need and I don’t immediately need.”

Anthony said that he would have loved to buy PS4 for playing games. He would have loved to buy a fitness machine for N130,000. I would have bought dresses, trousers, shoes all that kind of things.”

He said that he would still have to buy things like electronic gadgets, cornflakes, ice cream the big size, foodstuffs. He was going to buy fruits and a belt as well.

One of the Sales Executive of Samsung Electronic Store, Ogechukwu Onuigbo said that they do expect more patronage than they were getting. “Some people are expecting to collect their salaries. They may still come on Friday or Saturday to patronize us.”

She said that most of their customers have started adapting to the new prices of Samsung products. They knew that the exchange rate for Dollar was high.
“Many are still waiting for the Dollar to come down. But those who have no choice still buy. We gave 3 per cent off on some items.”

She admitted that the prices of things had gone up in the shop. Surge protector was N6000. Now it is being sold for N10,000.
Manager of Wrangler Store, Titi said that they are giving 30 per cent discount for their old stock (clothes and shoes). But as for the new stock the prices remained the same.
“The high exchange rate of Dollar has affected in a way our sales. Sales had actually dropped. The prices for our goods had actually gone up. And people are not buying things as they used to buy.”
She said that the prices of goods everywhere have gone up.
“Before we normally sell more. But now the sale has gone down. Some people are waiting for the Dollar to come down, others have no choice.”
“Those people that change their wardrobes once in a year can wait. Those that need to buy things for occasions they don’t have options.”We are importing our goods from Turkey.”

Manager House of Gems, Seyi Fakuade said that they are marketing their products to their customers with text messages.
“We also get referral from our old customers. The trend in the economy is not helping matters. I believe the exchange rate is not helping matters. The sales had already dropped on all our items.”

“I think with time, things will normalize. It will pick up again. People now go for one colour to serve different outfits. We usually have more shoes than jewelries but now we now have more jewelries. No thank to the exchange rate. Things have gone up may be for about 50 per cent. We got our products from Italy.”

A Store Keeper of Mango Store, Michael Adeyanju also said that their sales had dropped.
“We used to sell up to N800,000 a day now N300,000. The prices of things are high. People cannot afford them.”
He said that last year Easter their sales were much okay.

He added that everybody is looking up to the government to help to bring down the Dollar.Store Manager of Jack and Jones, Ngozi Ene said that the economy has affected sales. She disclosed that sales were worse before Easter.
“When we were approaching Easter things picked up. But I don’t know whether it will remain like that after the Easter period. Our prices had gone up by 20 per cent. We got our goods from Denmark. The high exchange rate has really affected our stock.

That is why our shop is scanty.”
She said that last year Easter was wonderful. The patronage was high but now they are experiencing low patronage.
“Ever since the exchange rate of the Dollar gone up the patronage has really gone down. Everything is expensive in the market, even the price of common salt had gone up. The way forward is for the government to do something positive about the economy.”

student of University of Lagos, Bibiana Kelechi said that the economic impasse is really affecting everybody.
“I could not even shop on line with the increase in prices of goods. I would rather buy on the shelves. I used to go out with my friends for shopping but we can’t do that anymore.
“ I will still celebrate with my friends at Ikeja City Mall. The economy is really bad. I am going to reduce the things I am going to buy for Easter. I have to maximize the money my parents will give me.”

However, the traffic of people travelling by air for Easter has not reduced. A staff of Overland Airline at the old Local Airport in Lagos said that in spite of the economic hardship, most people that can afford it still travel by air.
“Especially when there is public holiday people travel. I don’t think that anything has changed. Most of the airlines are fully booked.”

A staff of Azman Air, Okoida Blessing said that most airlines are fully booked.
“I am sure that most flights are fully booked. People are going out and coming to Lagos. We are selling according to the available seats. People are buying ahead their tickets on line at cheaper rates.”

By yesterday for example, she said that Kano flight for Sunday was N22,000 in the morning and in the evening was N19,000.
One of the passengers of Azman Airline, Mohammed Doko said that he would have loved to travel on Saturday but the price for the ticket was high.
“Our status differs. Some people will not feel it travelling by air. I don’t have to travel with my family all the time for security reasons.”

One of the passengers of Arik Air,Mrs O.Negedu regretted that Arik shifted her flight time to Abuja from 11 am flight to 12 30 pm.

“This was due to the spillover of the passengers they had on Thursday. People usually travel by air during festive period no matter the situation. It is safer. There are promos by the airlines for people to buy their tickets at a cheaper rate,” she said.

But the traders are not finding things easy in the market, due to low patronage. At Mushin Market Deaconess Bamidele, who sells frozen foods said that market is not moving for Easter like that of previous years.

“Maybe because of the high exchange rate of the Dollar and the high prices of things generally in the market. People were just going up and down the market without buying anything.”

At Ikotun market the situation was almost the same. One of the traders, Mr Chikezie who sells cloth in the market said that the poor state of the economy has affected the buying and selling of goods in the market.
“I have not seen this type of low-keyed Easter celebration before. I think the high exchange rate of the Dollar and fuel scarcity are not helping matters”He added that people are now more careful with their spending.
“Despite the fact that we are in a festive period, people are not coming out to buy cloth unlike the previous years.”

His friend, Mr Eze who sells food ingredients regretted the poor patronage she has to cope with.
“Despite the fact that we are in the festive period, the market is very dry. Celebrating the Easter will be very hard.”

At Masamasa the transporters are also worried about low patronage. One of them is the owner of Passage Gold Express, Mr Emmanuel, he lamented his ordeal.
“The turn up for people traveling this year is very poor.”

He said that 95% of their passengers were not travelling because of Easter.
“They’re going to the East for other functions like traditional marriage and funeral. In the past people travel for Easter with a lot of luggage, but today few of them are doing that.”

One of the staff of GUO Transport Company, Mr Michael complained that passengers to the Eastern part of the country namely Onitsha, Enugu, Abakiliki, and the Northern part like Kano Kaduna and Abuja has reduced.
“People are scared of traveling because of the poor state of the economy. They don’t want to travel and be stuck at their destinations,” he said

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