Thursday Dec 8, 2022
Thursday Dec 8, 2022

Vendors struggle to sell roses this Valentine’s

Gift and flower business seem to be slow as they remain uncrowded for the most part.

2022 Feb 07, 16:22, Kathmandu

Despite Valentine’s week starting from today, the streets of Kathmandu don’t look as vibrant as they did before. Business for gift and flower shops this year seems to be slow as they remain uncrowded for the most part.

To meet the demands of the people, Nepal has been importing long-stemmed red roses from India and China for many years. However, this year most of the flowers were imported from India due to flight restrictions. “Because cargo is much cheaper from India than China, most of the roses are imported from there this year”, says Bishwa Mani Pokhrel, General Secretary of Floriculture Association Nepal. “We were unable to import flowers from China due to flight restrictions. There were comparatively fewer issues regarding import and transport of flowers than last year”, he adds.

COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the cultivation, importation, and sales of flowers. According to Pokhrel, the production of flowers has decreased globally. Similarly, consumption of flowers has also decreased significantly as big celebrations and events are not organized due to the pandemic. “Due to less production and more demand for flowers during Valentine’s day, prices are bound to increase”, he says.

A single long-stemmed red rose costs Rs 80 this year. “It may go up to Rs 100 per rose as Valentine’s day approaches”, Pokhrel adds. Over the course of Valentine’s week, about 230,000 red roses are projected to be sold around the country. “About 30,000 red roses are estimated to be sold today. Maximum of the sales will happen on Valentine’s day itself”, he says.

Despite it being Rose Day today, gift shops do not have as many flowers as they used to have before the pandemic. Man Bahadur Lama, a flower vendor at Maitidevi says, “The price of roses has increased almost 50% compared to the prices before the pandemic”. After the government announced lifting off the odd-even restrictions, more people can be seen in the market thus he remains positive and hopes to sell more flowers during the rest of the day.

Business for gift shops also seems to be running very slow as most shops remain quite empty. “I have not made many sales today”, says Shankarman Bajracharya, owner of an Archies Store in Mid-Baneshwor. “Schools and colleges being closed have impacted the sales as well. The demographics for flowers and gifts include a majority of youths”, he adds. Teddy bears, chocolates, and perfumes are the most sold products this time around but there has been no considerable price hike in these products as yet.

People have been using online stores for their Valentine’s shopping which has decreased the footfall in physical gift stores. “People have become comfortable staying in their homes and shopping for gifts online. Although this may be a good thing for society especially under these circumstances, it has affected businesses like mine who depend solely on physical store sales”, Bajracharya says.


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