Exhibitors at the Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) this year were unhappy with the three-day closure and poor turnout of crowds as the month-long event ended on February 6, after an extension of six days.
However, some local brands hailed the DITF because they felt the event was a great platform to market their products.
This year the fair was closed for three days because of the commencement of Mujib Year and the Dhaka City Corporation elections.
Exhibitors said the crowd was relatively thin at the fair on the extended days because there were no holidays during that period.
"We sold products worth around Tk1 crore on each holiday at the DITF. But the fair was closed for three days, including two Fridays. It created a huge gap in our overall sales," said Rasel Ahmed, senior officer of the Walton pavilion.
A senior official of Samsung, on condition of anonymity said, "A Friday means a minimum sale of Tk30 lakh. Two Fridays mean a gap of Tk60-70 lakh in retail sales. This year we could not meet our target."
The official expressed dissatisfaction with the organisers. He also said many local stalls in the fair were disorganised and poorly decorated, which created a negative impression on buyers.
He added that the DITF is losing its appeal because of these disorganised stalls.
However, some local brands said they do not participate in the fair only for retail sales. They said their products can reach a large number of customers because of the fair.
"Retail sale is not the only reason we come to the fair. The DITF is the biggest marketing platform in the country. Our participation in the fair is a kind of investment," said Dulal Roy, senior zonal manager of Akhter Furniture.
"Around six lakh people visited our pavilion during the whole fair. I think we have succeeded in promoting our products to the people," he said.
"We also got some queries from foreign buyers during the fair. We hope they will buy furniture from us in the future," he added.
There was a huge demand for winter clothes at the start of the fair, but the demand fell later as the weather got warmer.
Winter clothes venders said that though sales were not satisfactory in the latter half of the fair, their products caught the eyes of some foreign buyers.
"Some buyers from India, Pakistan and Turkey, who also participated in the fair as exhibitors, took samples from us. We hope they will place orders in the future," said Ferdous Hasan, shop manager of Sara Lifestyles.
This year Walton got the Highest VAT Payer Award from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) for depositing the highest amount of VAT.
An official of Walton said the newly launched smart TVs were the main attraction at their pavilion.