he Covid-19 triggered lockdowns and shutdowns in the country dealt a severe blow to all genres of businesses. Restrictions on public gatherings and the mandate to adhere to social distancing made marriages and other social events low-key. These limitations hit the garments business. Marriages were either postponed or celebrated in a stripped-down manner. However, with its strengths of customer relationship and employee friendliness, city-based Alishan came out of the pandemic unscathed. The showroom continues to train its focus on customers’ satisfaction and has planned to develop the showroom by introducing more brands and newer collections. In an exclusive interview with Orissa POST, Jugal Agrawal, proprietor of Alishan, Ashok Nagar, Bhubaneswar talks about his future plans and programmes. Excerpts…
What has been the impact of Covid-19 on garments business?
The garment business has witnessed a slump in 2020-21 as compared to that in 2019-20. The Covid-induced lockdowns, shutdowns, restrictions and the obvious fear for life dealt a severe blow to the business. The business was not up to the mark from April to September. However, with the changing market scenario, there was a slight improvement in business by December. The situation is expected to improve further by the end of the current financial year.
Your business development plan for 2021-22?
There’s no specific plan for this year, but our focus will be on meeting customers’ expectations. We’ll further develop the showroom and introduce more brands as well as new collections. There’s a lot of love and affection of customers towards the showroom. And we’ll try to retain it. As usual, we’ll provide discounts and a host of attractive offers on the items to serve the customers.
How many employees do you have in the showroom? How were they affected by the pandemic?
Currently, we have 30-40 employees. Although we suffered a lot owing to the pandemic, we ensured our employees didn’t get into trouble. A business runs with customers and employees. As an owner and a human being, I continued facilitating the staff with all that I could at the hour of crisis as they have been working with me for a long time. Hence, they didn’t face difficulties like many others.
How will the Union Budget help your business?
The 2021-22 budget is a multifaceted document. Once implemented, it will be the responsibility of a businessman to keep vigil on its impact on businesses and businessmen. The Covid scourge is yet to get over. The government has presented such a budget in an effort to stabilise the economy and bring normalcy back to the business and market. We’ve got a special identity in the market. Hope we will witness growth in business very soon.