Friday, May 24, 2024

Dhaka trade fair gathers pace with pricey tag pic

Star Business Report

Weekend visitors stream into Dhaka International Trade Fair yesterday. Shoppers complain of high prices for products on display. Photo: Star
Weekend visitors stream into Dhaka International Trade Fair yesterday. Shoppers complain of high prices for products on display. Photo: Star

The 14th Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) pulled a huge crowd on the weekend on Friday and yesterday with customers complaining of high prices charged by the companies participating in the month-long extravaganza.
“We sold as many as 17,000 tickets on Friday, and hope to sell more today (Saturday),” said Billal Hossen, coordinator of ticket and information centre at the show.
He said the fair started gaining momentum from last week and the organisers expect more turnouts in the remaining days.
But the prospective customers were complaining of high prices. “The reputed companies are charging very high for their products. Those are not for middle-class people,” said Taslima Yasmin, a government official from Shyamoli area in Dhaka.
Most of the visitors were showing interest in furniture and the discounts that different stalls were offering. However customers also claimed that prices were high even after offering discounts.
Such local furniture companies as Otobi, Navana, Partex, Akhtar, Gold Teak, Mitsumaru and Koncept Furniture are offering 10 to 30 percent discounts at the fair.
“Customers can book an item with 30-50 percent down payment of the total price and get delivery from the nearest showroom in their vicinity,” said Rafiqul Haque, an official of Otobi Ltd, which is offering 10-25 percent discount.
Companies are also offering one- to two-year warranty. As the competition between companies is stiff, most of them are focusing on new avenues of services including after-sales services.
Partex is offering interior design service. “Our experts will visit clients’ house and give advice on selecting furniture. And we will carry and fit the furniture in appropriate place,” said Rifat Sarmin, a Partex official.
Navana Furniture offers 15 percent discounts, including gift vouchers and home delivery service.
The furniture companies are using raw materials from Malaysia, Thailand and the US to combine wood, steel and plastic to improve aesthetics of the furniture.
Mitsumaru is also exhibiting furniture imported from Thailand. Stainless steel-made cot is attracting visitors and the company is offering 20 percent discount.
About the prices, Taslima Yasmin from Shyamoli said: “Companies have increased the prices of their products first and then are offering discount, which ultimately doesn’t benefit the buyers.”
“The market will remain stagnant if the companies target the higher-class people only,” she said, adding that the companies should concentrate on people with limited income for expanding their market.
Defending the high price complaint, Rifat of Partex said they are focusing on quality and the industry is still in a nascent stage.
“For the quality and after-sale services, you have to pay more, and most importantly the price of wood is still high in international market that makes wooden furniture more costly,” she said. “But we have plans to go for economy furniture.”
Apart from furniture, visitors are also showing interest in shawl and scarf, utensil, jewellery, home decoration and food items.
The buyers complained about high prices of these products also.
“The shawls they are selling at Tk 850 are available at Tk 600 at New Market and Gawsia Market,” said Shampa Afroz, a housewife.
She also complained prices of every single product at the fair are high this year and the authorities concerned should take action in this regard.
Some 467 local and foreign companies are displaying machinery, agriculture equipment, chemicals and allied products, cosmetics, dairy products, electrical and electronic items, food, tableware, melamine and plastic goods, handicrafts, furniture, home appliances, leather and leather goods, footwear, sports goods, textile and garment products at the fair.
Export Promotion Bureau and Ministry of Commerce have jointly organised the show to help local enterprises expand their business globally. 

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