High street Eid collections in Pakistan exceed sales’ expectations online

Short Url
Updated 16 May 2020

High street Eid collections in Pakistan exceed sales’ expectations online

  • Prominent brand Generation sold out its Eid capsule collection online within 48 hours
  • High street brands re-focusing on giving customers smooth sailing online retail experience

RAWALPINDI: With Eid Al-Fitr just a week away in Pakistan, high street fashion brands found themselves facing their most profitable season of the year without traditional brick-and-mortar sales on their side-- and were forced to release their collections online.
Though stand-alone stores in most provinces opened for business for limited hours and days earlier this week, the country’s big malls remain closed due to ongoing partial lockdowns as part of coronavirus containment efforts. 
But brands, which had been struggling with dwindling sales for almost two months, said they were surprised with the overwhelming response to their online releases earlier in the season.
“When the pandemic started and we went under lockdown, we did not expect that people would want to buy much, especially our festive [Eid] collection pieces,” Naima Gilani, marketing communications coordinator at one of Pakistan’s most prominent high street labels, Generation, told Arab News over the phone on Saturday.
Though the brand’s production had been shut down earlier, Generation got creative with what they had available. 
“We couldn’t make new styles, whatever we had in production that reached its finishing stage were expedited, and strangely enough those were pieces that were from our formal collection... appropriate for Eid,” Gilani said.

Another major seller, 'Aftaab," one of the pieces that Generation had coincidentally completed in production in time for an Eid collection. May 9, 2020. (Generation Instagram)

Generation released some teasers of its minimalistic Eid designs online on its social media pages, with the pieces part of a bigger collection which included Eid cards, traditional hair accessories like parandas and even loungewear. Of the Eid dresses, the majority sold out within two days, with some outfits running out of sizes within hours.
“Our traffic online is now five times more than it is during normal days because our stores are closed,” Gilani said.
“This has translated in sales. And again, this was a really strange Eid season compared to previous years because we didn’t have that many collections to sell. But whatever little we did have, it sold really well.”

“The Mughal Minima" capsule released as part of Generation's Eid al-Fitr 2020 collection features traditional silhouettes, colour combinations and fabrics. This ensemble was the first to sell out within hours of its release. May 14, 2020. (Generation Instagram)

Another popular high-street brand that gave their Eid collection an online focus was Beechtree.
Nabia Saqib, the marketing director at Beechtree told Arab News that due to similar production issues as Generation and other brands, the label had opted to launch a smaller collection for Eid-- all of it completely online.
“All our collections are ready and prepared well in advance, so our Eid one is normally ready by winter, but with all that has happened some pieces had not been completed...but we decided to give what we did have a comprehensive online launch,” Saqib said.
And instead of releasing expensive Eid campaigns, Beechtree focused all its efforts on providing its customers with a smooth sailing online shopping experience.

A mint coloured embroidered outfit from Beechtree. Like Generation, Beechtree curated a collection from existing pieces in production. May 5, 2020. (Beechtree Instagram)

The ensuing sales figures, Saqib said, had left the whole team surprised.
“Being totally dependent on our online store was tough but when we saw our sales figures, they were actually pretty nice!” she said.
“We weren’t expecting this much of a sale during this time because we were thinking that with the uncertainty of the time, people might not be shopping online. But it met previous Eid online expectations and even helped combat some of the loss we experienced due to our stores being closed,” she added.
For Gilani, their Eid sales figures reflected the innate desires of people tired of the despondency of the pandemic-- those who just wanted to honor the biggest and most festive holiday of the year.
“With all this gloom and depression around, you just want to dress up for yourself and celebrate,” she said. 
“Be with your loved ones, look pretty, try to salvage what we can of this strange Eid and feel happy.”

Over 40,000 Pakistani expats to benefit from extension of Saudi visas, residency permits

Updated 05 July 2020

Over 40,000 Pakistani expats to benefit from extension of Saudi visas, residency permits

  • King Salman on Sunday approved a free three-month extension of expired residency permits, and exit and reentry visas of expatriates
  • Pakistan envoy to Saudi Arabia hails ‘positive and welcoming step’ by Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD: More than 40,000 Pakistani expats in Saudi Arabia will benefit from the royal order to extend by three months and without charge, the validity of expired residency permits and exit and reentry visas, Pakistan’s ambassador to the Kingdom, Raja Ali Ejaz, told Arab News on Sunday.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Sunday approved the extension in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on expats working in Saudi Arabia.

Under the order, the residency permits and visas of expats inside the Kingdom of which the validity expired during the period of suspension of entry and exit from Saudi Arabia, will be extended for a period of three months free of cost. The validity of final exit visas, unused exit and return visas for expats will also be extended.

“More than 40,000 Pakistani expatriates will benefit from this facility,” Ambassador Ejaz said.

“It is a positive and welcoming step by Saudi Arabia that they have given three months’ extension in almost every relevant visa related issue for expatriates.”

He added around 15,000 Pakistani expats inside the Kingdom and over 25,000 who had traveled back to Pakistan, would be facilitated by the extension.

“There were many Pakistanis who went back on leave and could not come back after the suspension of flights due to coronavirus,” he continued. 

“When they come back here [Saudi Arabia] to rejoin their work, their visas will be valid so they will not face any trouble.”

Furthermore, Ejaz said Pakistanis whose visas had expired but they had been unable to leave due to the limited availability of flights would also be beneficiaries, as the Saudi government had extended their final exit visas as well.

The extension facility will come into place free of cost-- a source of financial relief, Ejaz said, for the majority of Pakistani workers in unskilled labor positions.

Pakistan currently has more than 2.5 million expats living in Saudi Arabia, and makes up the country’s biggest overseas community. 

According to Pakistan’s central bank data, Saudi Arabia has consistently remained for years Pakistan’s largest source of remittances.