ISLAMABAD: Extreme weather in Rawalpindi and Islamabad has changed the shopping pattern this Ramazan, and even the corporate brands are keeping their outlets open late at night ignoring the official timings.
“We always used to do shopping during the day as it’s easy because of limited traffic and the fact that male members of the family are at work,” said Sadaf Zehra, a resident of Rawalpindi. “But the temperature is so high this year that even stepping out of the home is impossible.”
The Rawalpindi-Islamabad region has faced a different weather pattern this year, not only due to high temperature but also because the humidity increased the heat index.
This made the feeling of heat extremely high, i.e. up to 44 degrees Celsius, during the day recently.
As a result, the overwhelming majority of buyers are doing shopping after iftar, resulting in heavy traffic jams at almost all the commercial areas.
Buyers continue to throng markets for up to 2am and even some of the brands are keeping their outlets open. “We cannot turn back the buyers. People start coming after 11pm therefore we need to relax the closing time,” said the cashier at a prominent footwear brand.
During the initial days of Ramazan, most of the local brands were closing their outlets by 11:30pm.
A similar shopping pattern is being witnessed even in Islamabad where the residents do not have the habit of staying out too late at night.
“Around 90 per cent of shoppers come late in the evening,” said Kashif Abbasi, president of the Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders and Small Industries. “It’s difficult to resist the high Eid demand. Though the post-evening rush has always been a key feature of Ramazan shopping, this year’s pattern is unprecedented.”
Besides, people now prefer readymade clothes and company-made shoes instead of going after tailors or traditional sandals because of competitive prices, he added. This change too has added to heavy rush at main commercial centres where the buyers, mostly women, would move around all over the market seeking the best bargain.