Retail resurgence ahead of the New Year
In the Sri Lankan retail scene, there are mainly two seasons that
drive shoppers to retail stores and of course, makeshift stalls by the
roadside. They are Christmas/New Year and Sinhala and Hindu New Year.
After the shopping frenzy from November to December, there is a lull
from mid-January till end of February, but shopping picks up from the
first week of March in anticipation of the Sinhala and Hindu New Year.
It reaches its peak this weekend, the last one before Avurudu dawns on
April 14, as people try to grab gifts for their loved ones at the last
minute before travelling to their villages.
While the swanky shops and shopping malls in Colombo, not to mention
the numerous shops and stalls in Pettah are doing brisk business, some
outstation cities and suburbs of Colombo have stolen the limelight.
Maharagama, Kiribathgoda and Piliyandala have become shopping hubs of
late due to a variety of factors including the presence of almost all
major fashion stores in these areas. There is no longer any need to go
to Colombo for one’s Avurudu needs.
The population in these areas has also increased over the past few
years and so has the traffic. But one can still find a good bargain
amidst the hustle and bustle. Maharagama, in particular is well-known
for the garment trade and surplus from apparel factories has flooded the
area, making it a hub for shoppers from around the country.
Avurudu shopping at Maharagama begins as early as 2 a.m. as street
vendors peddle their wares before the shops open at 9-10 a.m. By that
time, most wayside stalls have run out of their stocks, leaving the
The prices are really good – buyers come all the way from areas such
as Trincomalee to buy in bulk quantities for resale in their areas. It
is an Avurudu shopping rush that no other city in Sri Lanka can match.
In the provinces, our reporters in Jaffna, Kurunegala, Kandy and Galle
reported huge crowds flocking the shopping areas.