Perhaps for the first time, Kerala’s commercial capital Kochi has woken up to a buying spree, with shopping till midnight becoming practicable during the Onam festival season. This is thanks to the efforts of the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry in this regard.
“The inaugural ceremony of night shopping in the city in connection with the Onam festival was held on MG Road with great fanfare on Wednesday evening. Mayor Mercy Williams inaugurated night shopping and District Collector APM Mohammed Hanish released the logo of the nine-night shopping festival,” informed sources close to Indiaretailing.
Commercial outlets along MG Road, Broadway and Marine Drive will remain open till midnight till August 30. ES Jose, president of the chamber, said that the idea was to introduce night shopping during the festival season on a temporary basis. If it is found viable, the facility will be made permanent from November 1, the Kerala Formation Day, he added.
“The shops that have agreed to participate in the shopping festival include home appliance outlets, textile shops and hotels. The inaugural day saw a large crowd jostling along the streets, enjoying the rare experience of night shopping,” sources added.
Among those supporting the venture are the Vyapari Vyavasai Ekopana Samithi (traders and industrialist coordination committee), the Market Stall Owners Association, the Gold and Silver Merchants Association, and the Textile and Garment Dealers Association. “The district administration has extended full support to the programme by making necessary arrangements for transportation facilities for customers,” sources added.
According to Jose, the merchants’ unions and the public have wholeheartedly supported the new venture coordinated by the chamber in order to make Kochi a leading shopping centre in South India. To create a festival ambience during the period, the chamber has also made arrangements to conduct various entertainment programmes as well as illumination of streets.
The chamber has initiated steps to organise ‘Vivah 2007’ in Kochi to enhance the business of various trade establishments in and around the city. The programme will be conducted shortly. Jose informed that the chamber had also launched various measures to help traders in the city to commence business ventures in the United Arab Emirates. It recently signed an MoU with the Hamariyah and Ras-al-khaimah free trade zones in this regard.
“Various shops have come up with attractive gifts. Commercial establishments have offered huge prizes for shoppers. In addition to the regular shops, the stalls that have been set up for the Onam season are participating in the fest with offers and special discounts,” said a night shopper.
With this, traders in Kochi are ushering in a new lifestyle idea, which may turn Kochi into a city that does not sleep.