Ramadhan sales: An opportunity for business and consumers [Archives:2007/1085/Business & Economy]

September 13 2007

With the coming of the holy month of Ramadhan, it has become a phenomenon to find people spending more to buy many of the special foods and commodities which people feast on after a long day of fasting. Inline with that, many marketers and businessmen see Ramadhan as an opportunity to maximize their sales and increase their profitability, while considering Ramadhan to be an excellent season for sales and discounts.

A good example is the Ramadhan Sale expo, which is held annually and almost all local food companies participate in, this year's Ramadhan Sale expo promised to offer 10 percent discounts on all food commodities which are in offer in the market, attracting many customers to head to the expo to buy their Ramadhan Items.

Organizers of the expo stated that 60 percent of the items offered are made in Yemen, while 25 percent are imported from neighboring gulf states, and the reminder 15 percent are imported from elsewhere, adding that it is important to present a complete portfolio of Ramadhan needs for the customers.

Interestingly, several salesmen within the expo stated that not only end customers come to buy from the expo, but also retailers come and buy in bulk at the discounted price in order to resell the items at their respective outlets.

Market exports stated that the huge demand of consumers and popularity of the expo is because of the 10 percent discount, stating that Yemeni consumers are extremely price sensitive especially in foodstuff which is bought and consumed in large quantities considering the large size of Yemeni families. Adding that Ramadhan is not an opportunity for business and sales, but it is an opportunity for consumers to take advantage of the discounts resulting from buying in bulk.

Director of the Union of Yemeni Chambers of commerce Mohammed Abdu Saeed pleaded to businessmen to be ethical and socially responsible, and not manipulate prices taking advantage of the increase in demand; he added that any business found to manipulate prices will be dismissed from its respective chamber of commerce. He also added that sales festivals are planned to be held in all major cities in the country.

Although the accompanying surge in demand and fluctuation in prices have become an annual habit every Ramadhan, this year it took a political dimension as well, Opposition parties have denounced the government's inability to control inflation or fix prices of commodities such as wheat and flour, this discourse forced the government to interfere within the local market and subsidize the government-affiliated Yemen Economic Corporation in order to buy, import and sell wheat directly to consumers at subsidized rates. The latest subsidy was of US$ 40 million last week, where the cabinet instructed the finance ministry to pay the amount to the Yemen Economic Corporation to import more wheat for the local market.