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Weather change increases  demand for winter jackets in Abuja

By The Citizen
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Dealers in second-hand cardigans and winter jackets, on Friday in Abuja expressed delight over the slight increase in the demand for sweaters.

The dealers said the demand for the warm clothing had also increased sales.

 Nigeria is currently witnessing harmattan season which is usually very cold in some parts of the country.

A cardigan is a knitted jacket made of wool, usually with no collar and fastened with buttons at the front.

The cardigans which are mostly worn during the harmattan season to keep people warm come in different designs, shapes and colours.

A check on some of the markets showed a lot of buyers selecting the design of cardigans that best suited them.

At the Utako market, one of the dealers, Malam Usman Doki said “I have gone to stock the products because of the harmattan season which is usually cold and hazy''.

Doki explained that there were slight increases in prices, adding “we expect to enjoy sales as the weather gets colder''.

Alhaji Abubarka Suleiman, another dealer, said though demand for the warm clothing had increased, there was no hike in the prices.

“A piece of sweater which used to cost N250, now goes for between N350 and N400 only'' Suleiman said.

According to him, waist jackets that have head-gear attachment are more expensive as they are sold between N1, 500 and N2, 500.

Mr Dickson Emeka, who sells the products in wholesale, said that a bale of the material was now being sold between N25,000 and N35,000 as against the former price of between N23,000 and N28,000.

“Business is moving as customers come from Minna, Kaduna and other nearby towns to buy from us'' he said.

At the Garki International Market, the demand for cardigans and winter jackets had also increased astronomically.

However, the rise in demand had not affected the price of the products which remained stable as at the time of filing this report.

Some buyers were seen shopping for cardigans and other warm clothing in some of the shops.

Mrs Patience Okonji, a dealer, said that she used to sell between two and five cardigans in a week, adding that she now sold between 10 and 20 weekly.

“The number of my customers coming to buy sweaters has increased in the last two weeks.

“Before now, my total weekly sales of sweaters was between N5,000 and N15,000, but since the last two weeks, the amount has risen to between N20,000 and N30,000 including profit,'' Okonji said.

Another trader, Mr Obina Nwakwe, said he made a total profit of N12, 000 from the sale of cardigans and winter jackets last week compared to the N2, 000 she used to make before the onset of the harmattan season.

“It is not that the price of the wares has increased. Customers are very smart these days, they know the price of these things and you can hardly make extra profit from them.

“Before now, I was selling between five and six sweaters every week but in the last two weeks, I have been selling between 10 and 15 per week.''

But for Miss Lovelyn Chidi, a trader of cardigans said nothing had changed for her since the onset of the cold.

“I haven't really recorded any increase in the demand for warm clothing here since the beginning of the ‘harmattan’.

“Maybe, it is because people have no money to buy these things, you know times are hard,'' Chidi stated.

Some of the buyers, however, confirmed Nwakwe's claim of price stability in spite of the increase in the demand for sweaters.

“I just bought this cardigan at the cost of N1, 500, which is the normal price. If there is any increase in price, I haven't noticed it'' said one Miss Rita Iyang.

However, at the Wuse Market, the situation was different as traders of the materials complained of low patronage in spite of the harmattan season.

One of them, Mr James steven, said that patronage of warm clothing was very low this year compared to 2012.

Steven attributed the situation to “the present economic hardship in the land.''

“Although, we make some sales every day, but you cannot compare the sales this year to what we had last year and even the year before.

“As you can see, even though we are in the festive period already, the number of people shopping in the market right now is very few compared to previous years.

“I think if there was much money in circulation, people would have enough to feed and some left to buy clothing.

Another trader, Mr Smart Nnachi of Smart Enterprise, said that neither the price nor demand for the products had increased since the beginning of the harmattan season.

“The price of our warm clothing is dependent on the price of dollar in the market.

“We buy our cloths from the UK and if the price of dollar is high, the price of our goods will increase to enable us meet up our sales.

“Times are hard now and it is affecting our businesses. We do not know if it is due to the unfavourable economy or the fact that people do not want to patronise us.

“ We are praying that God should intervene in our country,'' Nnachi said.

Mr Chigozie Ikpeama of Marleydavis boutique also expressed the same feelings with Nnachi.

He said the price of a wool jacket which was sold for about N5, 000 at the beginning of the year still goes for the same amount in spite of the change in weather.

One of the traders, Mr Okenmadu Obinna, had a different opinion on the sale of warm clothing.

Obinna said he had been enjoying good patronage since the beginning of the harmattan season.

“Even though times are hard, I still sell over 100 pieces of sweaters daily, which is better than the sales in previous years