Prices of household items soar
Residents here say traders are unfairly raising the prices of household items to take advantage of the demand created by the holiday season and Ramadan.
Several shoppers told Arab News on Monday that traders have raised the price of various utensils and were only interested in making money.
Hussein Banafa said he went shopping last week to purchase soup bowls and dishes. “I was surprised that the price had doubled. What used to be sold for SR100 now costs SR200,” he told Arab News. He called on the Commerce Ministry to control prices.
Some traders and vendors said that prices could go up by as much as 40 percent because of the rise in import costs.
However, other merchants said that they were worried about the price increases because shoppers might decide not to buy household goods, which would mean losses to them.
They said some traders are raising prices because of the combination of the summer vacation, wedding season, Ramadan and the upcoming Eid celebrations.
Muhammad Ali, a wholesale store manager, rejected accusations that traders were raising their prices unfairly. He said price increases were “insignificant” and still largely at the same level they were earlier this year.
He said the price of a dozen teacups ranges between SR20 and SR30 depending on the quality, and a set of soup bowls is now at SR120. This shows that prices have not gone up by more than 15 percent.
“Ramadan is the most profitable season in our business,” said Ali Ahmad, a salesman at a shop in Jeddah. “It is the only month that shops can make up for the losses sustained in previous months. I expect a good turnout in the days before Ramadan.”
Mohammed bin Afif, a member of the household utensils committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, confirmed that prices would increase this year by at least 40 percent.
“Store leases and wages have increased due to a shortage of workers after the labor correction campaigns. The price of a container at the port has increased from $1,800 to $3,300. There is also the added cost of having goods tested for quality on arrival,” he said.