Hamper dealers in Enugu on Tuesday decried low patronage of items as 2019 Christmas celebration draws nearer.
A NAN correspondent who visited the markets and shopping malls in Enugu metropolis, reports that many hampers in decorated raffia baskets and plastic bowls are yet to be sold.
The markets visited include Obgete Main Market, Garki Market, Kenyatta Market and some shopping malls.
Some of the dealers told NAN in separate interviews that they were disappointed over low patronage which they attribute to poor economic situation in the country
Miss Amaka Ijezie, a shop owner at Ogbete Main Market, said that the purchasing power of customers for hampers during yuletide had reduced due to harsh economic situation,
Ijezie said it was regrettable that she invested huge money into the business and was not making desired profit.
“It has been difficult to make reasonable sales; in fact, I have not been able to sell more than seven of the 30 hampers I bought since November; honestly, it is disappointing.
”The prices of the hampers depends on its sizes and contents. They range from N15,000 to N35,000.
“So many people, who are into gift items business did not invest in hampers this yuletide, probably they foresaw its low patronage before now,’’ she said.
Mrs Chito Nze, who sells different gift items including hampers at major shopping mall, said that she had yet to make any brisk business in the festive season.
Nze also attributed the low patronage to the bad economic situation in the country.
Also, Mr Frank Ukoha, a civil servant, told NAN that his family had yet to receive hampers from friends and relations this year compared to 2018 when they received more than five before Dec. 15 .
“Usually, by now, we would have gotten up to seven hampers. I am shocked that we have not received any,” he said.
However, a Nurse, Miss Ifeoma Agu, attributed the low patronage of the gift items to attitude of some dealers who packaged expired items into the basket for unsuspecting customers.
Agu condemned the unwholesome practice, saying it was worrisome that there was no value for the money paid, when a person discovered that what he or she had spent money on were expired goods.
“Due to the bad practices in the business, many people buy the items needed in bulk and prepare the hampers themselves. So it discourages customers,” she said.
NAN reports that hampers are usually presented as gifts by individuals, groups and corporate organisations to clients, friends and relations during celebrations.