Fashion week affects business at venue’s shopping arcade

March 22nd, 2009 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) They had high expectations from the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) at the Eros Intercontinental, but the owners and sales executives at the hotel’s shopping arcade are now very disappointed as the March 18-22 event has dented their business and dipped their sales.
“The fashion week has spoiled our business. There is so much rush and chaos all the time that the few guests living in the hotel are shying away from visiting our store,” Raj Kumar, owner of Kumar Jewels, told IANS.

“On a normal day, we have around 2-3 international visitors and they mostly are from the hotel only. But now, as many rooms have been given to the designers, there are very few foreign visitors in the hotel. We had high expectations from the fashion week, but everything has gone for a toss,” he lamented.

The previous edition of WIFW was held at the sprawling Pragati Maidan exhibition grounds in the heart of the city. The venue was changed this time to avoid complaints of “bad washrooms” at the venue.

In the past, even when the event was held at a hotel, huge marquees were erected on the lawns outside and designers were given space to put up their stalls. This time around, the 102 designers participating in WIFW have been given individual rooms spread over four floors of the hotel to put up their stalls.

Riyaz A. Khan, a sales executive at Hamadan, a shop that specializes in Kashmiri arts and crafts, said: “Foreigners usually like quiet and peaceful places and, when an event like this is happening, what all can you expect? They are running away.”

“Our sales are badly affected because of this (event). There are no sales at all. There is a 100 percent dip in sales. All these international buyers who have come here(for the fashion week) are interested only in buying clothes and not carpets,” he added.

In spite of this, Khan is hopeful that sales might increase after the fashion fiesta ends Sunday.

“Now the buyers are only interested in buying clothes (from the designers). There is a slight possibility that they might check out our shops after the fashion week ends. We are just assuming, so let’s see,” he said.

Shop owners also complained about the constant hustle and bustle in the hotel because of the fashion week.

“It is a mess. There is so much noise all through the day that I am feeling irritated. It’s not only our customers, even we can’t sit here in peace,” said the owner of a carpet shop, who preferred not to disclose his name.

“People do peep in, but only when they are on the way to the washrooms. It is ridiculous,” he said.

The shop owners were already feeling the pinch of recession and the impact of the Mumbai terror attacks as the number of international visitors to the hotel has reduced, besides which, some of their regular clients have also dropped out. With the fashion week on, they say they were feeling crippled.

“I sit idle the whole day now. Though our business was already hit by recession and the terror attacks, we still used to get customers who were staying in the hotel, but now there is no one,” Hamadan’s Khan explained.

Tanveer Ahmed, a sales executive at the Cottage Arts Emporium, echoed the sentiments of the shop owners.

“We don’t want any more fashion weeks happening here. Our business has been affected in many ways. It is just not a matter of five days. When you don’t have peace of mind, you do feel irritated. That’s how we all are,” Ahmed rued.

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