By Rohey Jadama
As the feast of Koriteh which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan is fast approaching, traders and customers alike are busy in selling and buying materials in preparation for the day.
Every year, this period witnesses an open market called “Wanterr” where customers are offered reduced prices of goods of various types ranging from garments, house decorations to footwear, etc. To see how this year’s buying and selling event is faring, this reporter visited the Serekunda market on Monday, 21 July 2014 to talk to the vendors and customers.
However, the traders lamented the poor sales due to low turnout of shoppers, while the customers decry the expensive nature of the goods on offer.
“Few customers are coming to buy textiles and this means low sales. The Wanterr we have last year is better than this year’s in terms of sales. We buy our materials all the way from Dubai which is so expensive and it is not good for our business if we cannot sell these materials,” said Dawda Jobe, a textile trader.
Yaya Barry, another textile vendor, confirmed the low sales but expressed optimism that sales will increase as they enter the last week before the feast. “Some customers normally do their shopping in the last week before the feast and we hope this is the case as the Koriteh is not more than a week from now and they will be coming out,” he said optimistically.
As for the proprietor of a fashion shop which sells ‘Ready Made’ women dresses and men’s clothes among other goods, their sales are on the increase as the customers are coming to buy. Bubacarr Jallow said he is getting good sales daily as his customers, who are mainly women, are coming to patronize him. “My dresses are a bit expensive because of the declining value of the Dalasi against the major foreign currencies which we use to buy our goods. But despite this, the customers are still coming,” said Jallow.
Alieu Kanteh, a vendor who sells shoes, said business was more profitable in the previous years as the prices of the goods are more expensive now for both the traders and customers. “Customers complain that our goods are expensive and this affects our sales,” he admitted.
Kanteh said the prices of their wares are more expensive when the celebration of feasts is getting nearer.
He also expressed optimism that customers will come out in their numbers as they enter the final days before the feast. “Hopefully, the situation will change in the last three days before Koriteh,” he remarked.
Haddy Njie, a middle aged shopper, who came for the “Wanterr” with the expectation that prices will be lowered, expressed disappointment that things did not turn out as she hoped. She lamented the high price of textiles which she said she came to purchase for her children. “I cannot afford the high prices they ask for the textiles which I want for all my children. The money I have with me from my meager salary cannot buy what I want,” she said.
Another shopper, Mariatou Jallow, said she is going home empty handed as the shoes she came to buy are expensive and that she does not have the amounts the vendors are asking. “I came to the Wanterr to buy shoes but the prices are really beyond my reach. There is no ‘Wanterr’ as such because the prices are high and cannot be afforded by many people including myself,” she said.