A festive air has started across the city markets as shopping for Eid al Fitr got into full swing with the announcement of holidays that will last more than a week.

While traders say the economic situation is picking up, the Consumer Protection Authority (CPA) keeps a watch on the markets to ensure the availability of goods, that too at a fair price.

From clothing, accessories and jewellery to shoes and gift items — a heavy rush of customers is seen in most shops, especially after iftar.

The CPA has already instructed commercial establishments not to hike the prices of products and commodities that are currently available in the market and have been affected by the increase in oil prices.

According to a statement from the CPA on Monday, Sulayem bin Salim al Hakmani, Chairman of the Consumer Protection Authority, has already visited a number of commercial centres and markets in Seeb.

"In view of the Eid al Fitr next week, officials are visiting shops and other commercial establishments to ensure the commitment of suppliers to implement value-added tax and the availability of goods in the markets," the statement said.

Although Eid takes place next week, a lot of hustle bustle is seen in the evening in major shopping areas thanks to offers and promotions launched by retailers to lure shoppers who can look forward to extensive discounts on consumer goods.

Although retailers are facing tough competition from online traders, with people spending significantly more time shopping on the web, most shop owners, from those in the malls to the high streets, said they are happy and busy as the mood is quite upbeat.

"Compared with the last few years, the mood of the customers seems to be much better, and they are buying more. The situation has really improved", said Nasser Ahmed, a supermarket owner in Ruwi.

Rakesh Vasudevan, a mobile seller, expects it to be busy over Eid but thought the numbers could be down on previous years for several reasons.

"People are spending more money online than ever before because of the pandemic, so it will be interesting to see how busy Eid is this year. Still, we expect good business in the coming days", he said.

A retail salesman in a shopping centre said Eid this time will be busy in the evenings if previous years were anything to go by.

"It's been quiet over Ramadhan, which you would expect, but it's starting to pick up, and I think it will be very busy over the Eid break for sure. It usually gets a lot busier at night time as more people come out then," said Rauf.

A customer at a hypermarket in Ruwi said prices of most items except for grocery and other food items have remained the same for many years and prices vary from type to type according to the quality, brand and place of origin.

"Readymade clothes and accessories are often cheaper than those tailored on-demand", said Emad Ahmed.

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