This is Not The Usual Christmas: Traders in Lagos Market Cries Out, Lament Poor Sales Amid Celebration
- Traders are not happy with the sales level this festive period even as they are also feeling the heat of rising food prices in markets across the country
- For some who spoke with Legit.ng, food prices maintained stability during the celebrations but patronage is not encouraging
- For goods like rice, beans, garri and other foodstuff items, their cost of purchase did not change but frozen foods experienced an increment in their cost price
Traders in markets across the country look forward to the festive season as they tend to stock up their shops so as to meet the demands of buyers and make a good profit.
This year's Christmas celebration has come but some trades shared with Legit.ng the market situation, sales level and present cost price of some goods.
Interestingly, some traders in the popular Lagos market made cool cash this season, cashing out with sales due to the items they are offering, items for the season.
Whilst buyers are lamenting hike in the cost price of goods, traders' are more concerned about selling the goods this few hours to the celebration of the season, Christmas, the birth of the son of God.
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Legit.ng visited the popular Lagos market, Mile 12 international market to find out the market situation this season, especially Christmas sales.
At the market, some traders are attending to buyers while others are waiting for buyers to come patronize them as there’s stability in the price of most goods.
This period, there are goods that are accompanied with the season and the norm is that they become expensive and after the season their price drops but to the amazement of buyers at the market, goods like rice, beans, garri, yam and perishable items maintained stability in prices while goods like live chicken, frozen turkey, chicken and fish are sold twice their previous prices.
For a foodstuff seller at Mile 12 international market, the economy is a major factor for drop in sales this period.
According to him, buyers don’t have any other option rather than to feed but the resources is not enough to go round hence they purchase the most important items first and others they can forego.
Adding that there was no change in the cost price of goods. He said:
“The cost price of rice beans and garri did not change; it maintained the old price of previous weeks before Christmas. The bag of rice is sold from N30, 000 before and now while the bag of local rice is sold from N25,000 and below but for beans, it is still very expensive and the cost price varies.
“It is not a good development, as some of us had to come out on Christmas day, because most of us that stocked our shop, we need to make sure we sell them off before the New Year but here we are, sales very slow, A bag of oloyin beans is sold from N100,000 while the cost price of olotu, olone and white beans is sold from N80,000, N75,000 and below. For garri, a bag sells from N13,000 and N12,000 below, depending on the market one visits as some market sell at a higher rate.
“Despite the season, market situation did not change at all, it’s like nothing is happening except for the fact that workers are on holiday and there’s less traffic on the roads. Asides the holidays, everywhere is just dry. No market.
A chicken seller
The situation is different with a trader who sells live chicken at the market. According to her, she sells with pride knowing too well that this is the time to make good sales, an opportunity that should not pass one by.
“I was prepared to sell and not just sell but make good sales. I started selling before Christmas but had prepared everything to achieve my aim.
“I am here with my daughter and a sister of mine. On person does the selling, the other two does the killing of the chicken for the customers. We well and for those who cannot take home to kill, we charge them with the main price of the chicken and then they wait to collect. We sell the small chickens from N4,000 upwards and the big ones from N8,000. It was not as expensive as this last year but due to the cost of purchase, we also added cost of carriage and other factors, hence they are expensive.
“For sales, we are making good sales. In fact, we are grateful as sales is very encouraging so far but we still have buyers who just come and when they are told the price, they walk away. We have no reason to complain.”
The situation is different with a perishable seller at the market. The trader who hailed from the northern region of the country lament poor sales, according to him, this is not the usual Christmas celebration they are used at the market.
“This Christmas is different, it is not the usual Christmas. No good sales despite the reduction in the cost price of what we sell. No market. Customers are not buying in their usual quantity; the quantity of purchase has dropped and this Christmas, the market situation is bad.
“A basket of tomatoes is sold from N19,000 but we have smaller ones from N10,000 and below. And for pepper, it is not also that expensive as the cost price of a bag is determined by the size and how fresh the pepper is. A bag is sold from N15,000 upwards.
“For onion, it is very expensive and the cost of purchase higher. A bag of onion now sells from N37,000 upwards. But the supply this period is at an average level, but the demand for perishable goods this season is very low. Buyers said they are managing their resources as they would have more bills to pay by January, so it is only advisable for them to spend within a limit. This in turn has affected our sales level and we are not happy about it as we go the extra length to reduce the cost price of those who comes to patronise us so they can come next time they visit the market,” The trader said.
At the same market, a buyer disclosed that the quality of goods has dropped and their quantity reduced. She made this assertion while complaining that the live chicken are no longer heavy but very light.
“This is indeed a tough time for us; as traders are looking for ways to make good sales, buyers' are also seeking ways on how to get goods at affordable rates in the market. The situation is a sorry one for us this year as the goods are of low quality and quantity at a reduced level too.
“If you are shopping this festive season, just get ready to spend more money on items as prices of goods in the market only rises further they don’t fall. It is devastating because we are managing to make ends meet following the bad economy. The chicken we bought last year for N5,000 now sells from N8,000 upwards and the ones that are sold from n2,500 last year now sells from N4,000 upwards. The price is not the case now, rather, the weight of the chicken is a serious issue.
“I had to buy three live chickens just have enough meat in the pot as they are too light. The government needs to do something so we won’t have similar experience in the market going forward. Things are tight for us now than before.”
A trader at the market who sells ogbono, crayfish, egusi, and more told legit.ng that the cost price of items rendered most buyers helpless.
He said: “Because goods are very expensive in the market now, that is why it is scanty and only few traders are present despite the season. And at other markets, you will see buyer in their large numbers but after sales, nothing is coming in on the part of the traders as their profit margin would tell better.
“This year Christmas is very dull, nothing is happening in the market. The market here is dry but we are still making sales, due to the cost of purchase, we are recording low profit after sales, it is sad. We are not happy as we are also affected this period. The celebration was on a low level because we are still alive breathing, we cannot do much but to be grateful. We hope for a better Christmas celebration next year as we also have families to feed.”
Interestingly, 25-litre of groundnut oil still sell from N26,000 and palm oil sells from N24,000 as this was the cost price before yuletide.
“There is no market. Buyers just come, price and some purchase in small quantity others would just walk away. This is not what we were expecting this year. The cost price of groundnut oil did not increase, it maintained stability yet no good sales. 25-litre of groundnut-oil sells from N26,000 while 25-lire of palm-oil sells from N24,000.
“The business this festive period is very slow but we have five days to the end of the year, we are praying for better sales ahead of the New Year celebration, A seller at the market told our correspondent.
A yam seller attributed the drop in sales to the state of the nation. Alhaja as she is fondly called, is of the view that the sales dropped buyers would only purchase goods of urgent importance.
She said: “We are here today and I can tell you that even traders are feeling the heat because the goods we sell are also purchased at a higher rate now. We have to deduct our expenses and this why goods are expensive at the market now.
“What buyers do now, is that they purchase the goods that they need for survival, their purchasing patter has changed in recent times. This is why you see them in numbers in the market yet only few are with full bags. The market is just full but nothing is happening. Most traders are lamenting daily as some used borrowed funds to still stand as a business owner.
“Insecurity, dollar scarcity, excise duties, it is no longer a smooth ride for us all in the country, things are getting tougher by the day, we plead for assistance from the government as we approach the New Year."
For buyers who are considering shopping for the New Year celebrations, the traders at the market disclosed that a good bargaining power would sustain their list.
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