Despite pocket pinch, Christmas shoppers make merry

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Santa Claus is coming to town,albeit riding on a relatively more expensive sleigh this year. Owing to the rise in US dollar and preference to imported products, this year, the prices of decorations and Christmas trees have gone up ó some by about 20 per cent as against last year. While regular decorations still dominate the market, Christmas trees, stocking, gifts as well as wreaths made of plastic flowers are in high demand as always. Predictably though, the sharp price rise of these products has not been a deterrent to the shoppers.

D Furtado and Sons located prior to Sharbatwalla Chowk near Centre Street is a second generation store that sells Christmas decorations. Bartholomew Furtado, the current owner, said prices have indeed gone up compared to last year. "Most of the stuff that we have is bought in from places such as Mumbai and Kolkata. A lot of it is imported. This caused the prices of most of the products right from decorations like stars bells and the mirrored balls go up as well as those of the streamers and Christmas trees. However, this has not stopped people from coming in to buy products. The pinch is felt only if people buy single quantities of products. Most people buy in bulk and that helps to reduce prices and is profitable for both the customer as well as us," said Furtado.

The prices for decorations like stars bells, drums and little wrapped boxes that masquerade as gifts range between Rs 10 for two or three pieces and Rs 20. Wahed Tambuwala, fourth generation owner of Unique Stores in Camp, said, "A year ago, one could get more pieces of decorations for the same price. Chinese products don't have shelf life but they look good. So they have come in due to which the Indian products have become expensive. And they don't sell. The Chinese ones do; so we stock them. Products like the Stars cost between Rs 40 and Rs 200 now. Around a year ago, they cost at least 20 per cent less."

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